Have you had to converse more loudly lately? Are you finding the need to turn the television up louder for an older adult you love? Repeating yourself after the senior loved one missed hearing the first time? It’s not uncommon for seniors to experience hearing loss. But emerging studies are revealing how treating hearing loss is even more important than you may realize, as it can even reduce the risk for dementia.
How Hearing and Cognitive Functioning Are Linked
There are a variety of hypotheses researchers are investigating to explain the connection between hearing loss and dementia:
- Less social interaction leads to less mental stimulation and a less active and engaged brain.
- The brain’s thinking and memory systems are impacted when it has to focus harder to strain to hear and also to fill in the gaps when communication is missed.
- An older brain shrinks more rapidly due to hearing loss.
Finding the cause of this connection and determining if treating hearing loss can help is vital. The amount of people who may be impacted is astonishing, with as many as 37.5 million Americans currently going through some amount of hearing loss.
As of now, we know that seniors with hearing loss experience a decline in cognitive functioning at a rate of 30 – 40% faster than those with normal hearing. Not only this, but hearing loss escalates the risk for other health issues, such as falls and depression.
The good news is that medical researchers at Johns Hopkins are presently trying to determine if treating hearing loss might actually minimize 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 required for a path forward.
If an aging adult in your life struggles with hearing loss, encourage them to get a checkup and to wear hearing aids if recommended by the doctor. Help at Home’s professional senior care providers can even provide transportation for that checkup if needed.
In addition, we have dementia care specialists that are always prepared to assist individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia to stay safe, comfortable, and engaged in meaningful and enjoyable activities. We can also assist with more effectively managing some of the challenging behaviors associated with dementia, such as aggression, agitation, wandering, sundowning, and much more.
Just connect with us any time online or at (530) 885-7444 to learn more about how we can help older adults live healthier lives at home with our dementia care in Lincoln, CA and the surrounding areas. We offer a free of cost in-home consultation to answer all of your questions and to develop a personalized plan of care to best meet your needs.