The Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia You Need to Know About

Posted on April 10th, by Mark Winter in Aging, Alzheimer's, Caregiver Support Tip, Dementia, Hearing Loss. No Comments

The Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia You Need to Know About
A man who knows about the link between hearing loss and dementia smiles as he uses a hearing aid.

Understanding the link between hearing loss and dementia is crucial to know the steps you can take to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Are you finding the need to turn the TV up louder for someone you love? Speaking more loudly? Repeating things the person missed hearing the first time? Hearing loss in older adults is not uncommon. But new scientific studies are pointing to a startling link between hearing loss and dementia.

How Hearing and Cognitive Functioning Are Linked

There are a number of hypotheses scientists are exploring to explain the connection between hearing loss and an increased risk of dementia:

  1. The brain’s memory and thinking ability are affected when it has to work harder to strain to hear and to fill in the gaps when communication is missed.
  2. An older brain shrinks more rapidly because of hearing loss.
  3. Decreased social interaction results in less intellectual stimulation and a less active and engaged brain.

It is very important to pinpoint the specific reason behind this connection and to determine if treating hearing loss can help. The total number of people who may be impacted is astonishing, with as many as 37.5 million Americans currently experiencing some degree of hearing loss.

We already know that older adults with hearing loss experience a decline in cognitive functioning at a rate of 30 – 40% faster compared to those with normal hearing. Not only that, but hearing loss increases the risk for other health issues, such as falls and depression.

The good news is that researchers at Johns Hopkins are currently attempting to determine whether treating hearing loss might actually reduce brain aging and prevent dementia. A study of almost 1,000 people diagnosed with hearing loss is ongoing, and within the coming year, they expect that we’ll have the information needed for a path forward.

If a person you love struggles with hearing loss, encourage them to get a checkup and to wear hearing aids if recommended by the doctor. Our caregivers can even provide transportation for that checkup if needed.

Additionally, our dementia care specialists are on hand to help those with Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia to stay comfortable, safe, and engaged in enjoyable and meaningful activities. We can also help with more effectively managing a number of the challenging behaviors related to dementia, including aggression, agitation, wandering, sundowning, and much more.

Just connect with us any time at (866) 940-4343 to learn more about how we can help older adults to live healthier lives at home with personalized care in Novato, Santa Rosa, Napa, and the surrounding areas. We offer a free in-home consultation to answer all of your questions and to develop a personalized care plan to best meet your needs.

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Want to find out more about our senior care in California and how it can improve safety, comfort, and independence at home? Contact us at (866) 940-4343 to request a free in-home consultation to learn more about our customized care solutions in Novato, Pleasanton, Santa Rosa, Napa, Sonoma, and the surrounding areas.

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