When checking in on Mom, you notice the television is blaring, and she’s asking you to repeat everything you say, or even to speak up because she thinks you are talking too quietly. Some extent of hearing loss is quite typical in seniors, and definitely warrants staying on top of through routine hearing examinations. But there’s an additional reason to pay attention to any hearing issues in older adults: the link between hearing loss and dementia .
What Is the Connection Between Loss of Hearing and Dementia?
Researchers believe there are several factors that come into play for a senior with hearing loss and their increased risk for dementia.
- When a loved one suffers from hearing loss later in life, the brain starts to shrink more quickly
- Hearing loss may cause seniors to limit their social interactions with others, leading to a reduction in brain activity and engagement and intellectual stimulation
- The brain must work harder to comprehend audible input, influencing memory and thinking as it strains to fill in the gaps of missed conversation
Researchers have already identified that seniors who have a reduction in hearing also have a decline in cognitive functioning as much as 30–40% faster than individuals without hearing loss. What’s more, hearing loss results in an elevated risk for depression, falls, and other serious health conditions.
The next step is further exploring the prospective link between dementia and hearing loss and to evaluate if seniors who get treatment for their hearing loss can avoid developing dementia. With 48 million people in the U.S. alone struggling with some kind of hearing loss, the potential impact of better comprehending this connection is immense.
How Can You Help Someone You Love With Hearing Loss?
Also, encourage your family member to stay socially active in spite of hearing loss. Having a companion accompany the senior on visits with friends and family or on outings is a fantastic way to help them feel more at ease and assured. The companion can act as a liaison when needed to help the senior engage in conversations and not left out.
At Grace Home Care, our care providers make exceptional companions for those with hearing loss or any other health issue. We can provide transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments as well as fun outings, along with a full array of personalized support services in the home or on the go.
We also provide specialized care services for those with dementia. Our fully trained and experienced professionals understand the distinct challenges of the disease and supply creative, compassionate solutions.