Can Treating Hearing Loss Reduce the Risk for Dementia?
Do you find yourself repeating points a senior loved one missed hearing the first time? Have you needed to turn the television up louder for a senior you love? Are you having to talk more loudly? Hearing loss in seniors is a common issue. But new scientific studies are pointing to a surprising link between hearing loss and an elevated risk for dementia – leading them to also explore a potential connection between treating hearing loss and reducing the risk for dementia.
How Hearing and Cognitive Functioning Are Connected
Scientist are exploring many hypotheses to explain the link between hearing loss and dementia:
The brain’s memory and thinking systems are affected when it has to focus harder to strain to hear and also to fill in the gaps when communication is missed.
Decreased social interaction leads to less mental stimulation and a less active and engaged brain.
An older brain shrinks more rapidly because of hearing loss.
Establishing the precise reason behind this connection and determining if treating hearing loss can help is very important. The number of individuals who might be impacted is astounding, with as many as 60% of Canadian seniors currently encountering some level of hearing loss.
We already know that seniors with hearing loss experience a decline in cognitive functioning at a rate of 30 – 40% faster than those with normal hearing. In addition, other health problems can be exacerbated by hearing loss, most notably depression and falls.
The good news is that medical researchers at Johns Hopkins are currently attempting to determine whether treating hearing loss might actually decrease brain aging and prevent dementia. A study of almost 1,000 older adults with hearing loss is underway, and by as early as the coming year, we’ll have the information needed for a path forward.
If a senior in your life has experienced hearing loss, encourage them to get a checkup and to wear hearing aids if recommended by the physician. A professional caregiver from The Care Company can even provide transportation for that checkup if needed.
Additionally, our dementia care specialists are available to help individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia to stay safe, comfortable, and involved with enjoyable and meaningful activities. We can also assist with more effectively managing a number of the challenging behaviors related to dementia, for example, aggression, agitation, wandering, sundowning, and so much more.
Get in touch with us any time online at 416-422-2273 to learn more about how we can help seniors live healthier lives at home with our professional senior help in Toronto and the nearby areas. We offer a free of cost in-home consultation to answer all of your questions and to develop a personalized care plan to best meet your needs.