Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s in Untreated Hearing Loss

Did you know that you have a risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s in Untreated Hearing Loss? In a recent article published by Frank Shepel, Doctor of Audiology, at SoundPoint Audiology and Hearing in Casa Grande, AZ shares the following:

Have you noticed that you’re not hearing as well as you used to? If so you should make an appointment with your local audiologist as soon as possible. Delaying a hearing test may put you at risk for dementia according to a 2011 study done at John Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging. The longer you wait to seek hearing loss treatment, the more likely it is your brain will forget how to interpret sound.

The study points out that individuals with hearing loss were more likely to develop dementia. The study followed 639 dementia-free individuals from 1998-2004. Of them, 125 had mild hearing loss, 53 had moderate hearing loss and six had severe hearing loss. At the conclusion of the study, 58 of the participants had developed dementia, including 37 who had Alzheimer’s. Both diseases were more prevalent in the participants with the most severe hearing loss.

Auditory deprivation from lack of stimulation of hair cells in regions of the cochlea and the social isolation which occurs from hearing loss put individuals at risk for the loss of brain tissue which can hasten the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s, two diseases known for the deterioration of brain function.

Our ears hear but our brain interprets the sounds so that they make sense and we can understand. With hearing loss, hair cells in the inner ear are damaged and can’t transmit sound signals to the brain.  As hearing worsens and your brain is deprived of normal auditory messages, it forgets how to understand speech – much like your muscles get weak when you stop using them.

Patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia should have their hearing tested. Studies indicate hearing aids can improve communication and reduce confusion among these patients and may help to improve memory and social interaction for them.

And even though researchers currently can’t say whether or not hearing aids can reduce your risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s, wearing them have proven to be effective in helping regain speech understanding, delay further hearing loss and reduce feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation.

Hearing aids have been shown to improve relationships with family and friends, increase participation in social activities and improve patients’ quality of life!

Hearing tests are easy, fast and painless.

Hearing loss reduces everyone’s quality of life.

Hearing aids do help and they can improve anyone’s quality of life now and for years down the road.  So don’t hesitate to take that first step and call your local Audiologist and schedule an examination for yourself or a loved one today!

Frank Shepel

Dr. Franklin A. Shepel

Board Certified Doctor of Audiology

CCC-A, FAAA

Clinic Manager

Office Website: http://www.soundpointcasagrande.com/

Office Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SoundPointHearing

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