Latest posts by Dr. Alexandra Tarvin (see all)
- September is World Alzheimer’s Month - September 22, 2019
- How Treating Hearing Loss Improves Your Relationships - August 16, 2019
- Addressing Hearing Loss May Improve Care of Older Adults - July 25, 2019
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are projected to impact 152 million people world-wide by 2050. Alzheimer’s disease is a brain condition that impacts areas which control thought, memory, emotion and language. But globally, two out of three people believe there is little to no understanding of dementia in their countries.
Every September, World Alzheimer’s Month makes an international effort to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s, which is the most common form of dementia. This is important to our clients at Elevate Audiology because study after study has linked untreated hearing loss with early on-set dementia. Schedule a hearing evaluation today at Elevate Audiology! We are committed to being your best resource for better hearing and improved quality of life.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Aging
In addition to untreated hearing loss, there are other factors that may put you more at risk for getting Alzheimer’s. They include rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, smoking and obesity. Each of these factors increases your risk of getting dementia three to six times more than someone who doesn’t have these conditions. Memory loss is an early indicator of Alzheimer’s, but it is a little scarier than just not remember where your keys are. There is also difficulty finding the right words, problems understanding what people are saying, not being able to perform what were previously routine tasks as well as personality and mood changes.
You may get lost in familiar places, have trouble handling cash and paying bills, people may tell you that you repeat the same questions over and over in a very short time, you may find everyday items in strange places – like the milk in the closet and experience confusion over time and events. Those with dementia experience personality changes that occur including paranoia and distrust of family members as well as caregivers.
Untreated Hearing Loss and Cognition
About 48 million Americans and as you get older, the chances of experiencing hearing loss increase. Dr. Frank Lin, an otologist and epidemiologist with Johns Hopkins University, has done studies of hearing loss and cognitive decline. The studies conclude treating hearing loss early is essential to help ward off cognitive decline and dementia. The most recent statistics show adults wait – sometimes up to seven years – before getting hearing loss is treated. There are already some cognitive decline issues, but research indicates such of the decline can be alleviated with the use of hearing devices.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Your Brain
Use it or lose it can be applied to your brain! Socializing, utilizing your brain outside the home for driving, shopping, hiking and even just walking are all great stimulation for the brain. Baking and following a recipe, doing the crossword puzzle, and reading all help keep you sharp. However, your brain should work evenly. Untreated hearing loss causes your brain to work extra hard to decode sounds and conversations repeatedly. It puts what scientists call a “cognitive load” on certain areas of the brain. If you are using too much of your brain for the one thing – other cognitive abilities are reduced.
Brain imaging studies of seniors with untreated hearing loss shows less gray matter in some parts of the brain. Those studying the data concluded the brain didn’t change, but certain brain cells that were no longer being used because of lack of stimulation had started to shrink and go unused.
Untreated Hearing Loss Impact
Most people with untreated hearing loss withdraw from activities outside the home. They are embarrassed to not be able to hear all parts of a conversation and respond correctly. It is also embarrassing to not be able to hear the wait staff discuss the daily special at a restaurant or hear a clerk tell you how much something costs.
Those with untreated hearing loss gradually withdraw from their friends and social circles. This, in turn, cuts out a valuable piece of social interaction that keeps your cognitive abilities sharp. It leads to depression. Lack of socialization as well as depression have long been recognized as factors that can lead to cognitive decline and dementia.
Treat Your Hearing Loss at Elevate Audiology!
Treating hearing loss helps improve your cognitive abilities. A French study used subjects 65 to 85 with profound deafness in one ear. Each received an implant to improve the hearing in that ear and after one year – 86% of the test subjects showed significant improvement in cognitive abilities. Similar results have been noted with those who get and use hearing aids.
At Elevate Audiology, we understand that there’s lots of information which why be confusing about hearing aids. We offer a variety of service plans and hearing aids at all technology levels.