When checking in on Mom, you find the TV is blaring, and she keeps asking you to repeat what you’ve just said, or even to speak up because she thinks you’re mumbling. Some degree of hearing loss is definitely common in older individuals, and of course requires staying on top of through regular hearing tests. But there’s another reason to pay attention to any hearing issues in aging adults: the connection between Alzheimer’s and loss of hearing.
What’s the Link Between Alzheimer’s and Loss of Hearing?
Experts believe there are certain factors that go hand in hand with a senior’s hearing loss and their increased risk for dementia.
- When someone experiences hearing loss later in life, the brain starts to shrink more rapidly
- Loss of hearing may cause seniors to restrict their social interactions with other people, triggering a decrease in brain activity and engagement as well as intellectual stimulation
- The brain must work harder in order to comprehend audible input, affecting memory and thinking as it strains to fill in the holes of missed conversation
Research has already revealed that older individuals suffering from a decline in hearing also suffer from a reduction in cognitive functioning as much as 30–40% faster than individuals without hearing loss. Additionally, hearing loss contributes to an increased risk for falls, depression, and other serious health conditions.
The next step is further examining the potential link between dementia and hearing loss and to see whether seniors who receive treatment for their hearing loss can preempt the development of dementia. With 48 million people in the U.S. alone struggling with some sort of hearing loss, the prospective impact of better understanding this relationship is immense.
How Can You Help Someone You Love With Hearing Loss?
Also, encourage your loved one to remain socially active in spite of hearing loss. Having a companion accompany the person on visits with family and friends or on outings is an excellent way to help them feel more comfortable and secure. The companion can serve as a liaison when needed to help the person take part in conversations and not feel left out.
At Inspired Home Care, our caregivers make excellent companions for people with hearing loss or other health conditions. We can provide accompaniment and transportation to medical appointments as well as fun outings, along with a wide array of individualized support services in the home or on the go.
We also provide specialized care services for people with dementia. Our fully trained and experienced experts know the specific challenges of the disease and offer creative, compassionate solutions.