Are you finding the need to turn the TV up louder for a senior you love? Talking more loudly? Repeating conversations the senior loved one missed hearing the first time? Hearing loss in seniors is not uncommon. But recent studies are pointing to a startling connection between hearing loss and dementia.
How Hearing and Cognitive Functioning Are Connected
There are a few hypotheses scientists are investigating to explain the link between hearing loss and dementia:
- Reduced social interaction results in less intellectual stimulation and a less active and engaged brain.
- An older brain shrinks more rapidly as the result of hearing loss.
- The brain’s memory and thinking systems are impacted when it has to work harder to strain to hear and to fill in the gaps when communication is missed.
It’s vitally important to pinpoint the exact reason for this connection between hearing loss and dementia and to discover if treating hearing loss can help. The amount of people who may be impacted is astounding, with up to 37.5 million Americans currently encountering some level of hearing loss.
We already know that older adults with hearing loss have a decline in cognitive functioning at a rate of 30 – 40% faster compared to those with normal hearing. Not only this, but hearing loss increases the risk for other health problems, such as depression and falls.
The good news is that medical researchers at Johns Hopkins are currently working to determine whether treating hearing loss might actually lessen brain aging and prevent dementia. A study of almost 1,000 older adults with hearing loss is underway, and by as early as next year, we will have the information necessary for a path forward.
If an older adult you love struggles with hearing loss, encourage them to get a checkup and to wear hearing aids if recommended by the doctor. Our care providers can even provide transportation for that checkup if needed.
In addition, our dementia care specialists are on hand to assist individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any other type of dementia to stay safe, comfortable, and involved with meaningful and enjoyable activities. We can also help with more effectively managing a number of the challenging behaviors related to dementia, for example, aggression, agitation, wandering, sundowning, and more.
Email or call CareWorks Health Services any time at (949) 859-4700 for more information about how we can help older adults live healthier lives at home. We offer a complimentary in-home consultation to answer all of your questions and to develop a personalized care plan to best meet your needs. Reach out to us today to learn more about our award-winning senior care in Huntington Beach and nearby communities.