In patients with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, the brain is attacked and everyday functions become impossible or extremely difficult. According to the Alzheimer's Association, a startling 5.7 million people in the United States suffer from Alzheimer's and other dementia diseases, costing the nation about $277 billion in 2018. Despite awareness and research into this troublesome and life-robbing disease, every 65 seconds someone in the U.S. develops the disease. Alzheimer's disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in our country.
If you know someone with Alzheimer's disease, it's vital to do all you can to help them live the most vibrant and full life. If you don't know anyone with this devastating disease yet, it's still important to be aware of early warning signs of Alzheimer's and other dementia.
What is the connection between hearing loss and Alzheimer's?
Alzheimer's disease and hearing loss can be intricately connected — one of the hallmarks of the disease is the decreased ability to communicate. One recent study has even named hearing loss as a key risk factor for dementia.
Many times, Alzheimer's patients in the later stages of the disease seem to be in their own world, often not responding to others or to stimuli in the environment we would expect them to notice. Conversations go on without them, questions are asked but remain unanswered. When Alzheimer's disease and hearing loss coexist, the situation is more complicated. Hearing loss challenges the patient's ability to interact with the world around them, much like the dementia symptoms. Unless they are aware of the hearing loss and facilitate getting treatment, caregivers will find it difficult — if not impossible — to communicate with these patients.
Treating hearing loss can improve quality of life for Alzheimer's patients
Diagnosing hearing loss in someone suffering from Alzheimer's can be a huge relief for the patient, their family and caregivers. Some of the problems that were once blamed on the dementia progression can now be attributed to the hearing loss, and hearing loss has a variety of treatment options that may improve communication. Hearing aids, assisting listening devices, alerting devices and other communication strategies can be employed to help the Alzheimer's patient engage with their loved ones and caregivers.
Research from the Better Hearing Institute demonstrates that the use of hearing aids improves quality of life for individuals, including emotional health, mental ability, physical health and a sense of independence.
Take action to help your loved ones
The holidays bring about many family gatherings and social events. If you notice one of your loved ones seems to be exhibiting any of the signs of Alzheimer's or hearing loss, take action. Early detection is the first step to maintaining quality of life. When it comes to hearing loss, there are treatment options for every need and budget. Hearing aids can make an enormous difference in the lives of those living with hearing loss. It is even more important to diagnose hearing loss for someone also suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
To find out how hearing aids could help you or a loved one, call 515-499-4302 for your FREE hearing evaluation at Jasa Hearing today.