Hearing Loss Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

In the past several years, much has been in the news about the correlation between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.  A study at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in conjunction with the National Council on Aging has found that older adults with hearing loss were more susceptible to a decline in cognitive abilities than those who did not lose their hearing.  While the specifics of the correlation are unknown, it has been suggested that the a common pathology may underlie both, or that strain of decoding sounds over the years may overwhelm the brains of people who have hearing loss, leaving them more vulnerable to dementia.  Another speculation was that hearing loss could leave people more socially isolated and less likely to engage in social behaviors, which is a risk factor for dementia and other similar disorders.

John Hopkins School of Medicine

Click below to read the Press Release from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine:

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_and_dementia_linked_in_study

Of the people who are living with Alzheimer’s Disease, many have hearing loss but it has not been identified or treated.  The Better Hearing Institute recommends that hearing checks, hearing healthcare, and hearing aids if appropriate be included in the regiment of care for Alzheimer’s patients.   The use of hearing aids can help with depression, disorientation, anxiety, social isolation, negativism, loss of independence, and general cognitive decline in these patients.  Unaddressed hearing loss can significantly compound the strain of Alzheimer’s, both on the person suffering from it as well as his or her caregiver.  Hearing aids may reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms for people with the disease.

More research is needed to discover what the exact correlation is, but multiple studies and sources have found that dementia and Alzheimer’s are affected by hearing loss.   Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health problem in seniors, behind high blood pressure and arthritis.  It is imperative that one not ignore the signs and symptoms of hearing loss, as it can affect many different facets of life.  So many older people worry about losing their independence and aging well, as well as having their faculties about them.  An annual hearing test and hearing aids can help maintain that independence, as well as help prevent more serious issues.  Have your hearing tested by a hearing healthcare professional to find out if you have hearing loss and are a candidate for hearing aids today!

 

Until next time….

 

Dr. Kristin

Mike