When checking in on Mom, you notice the television blaring and she keeps asking you to repeat what you’ve said or speak up because she thinks you’re talking too quietly. Some degree of hearing loss can be common in older loved ones, and definitely is deserving of staying on top of through regular hearing examinations. But there’s another reason to pay close attention to any hearing deficiencies in older adults: the link between hearing loss and dementia.
What Is the Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia?
Experts believe there are various factors that come into play for a senior with hearing loss and an elevated risk for dementia.
- When a loved one has hearing loss later in life, the brain starts to shrink more quickly
- Hearing loss could potentially cause seniors to limit their social time with other people, ultimately causing a decrease in brain activity and engagement in addition to intellectual stimulation
- The brain needs to work harder to comprehend audible input, impacting memory and thinking as it strains to fill in the holes of missed dialogue
Researchers have already identified that older individuals suffering from a decline in hearing also go through a reduction in cognitive functioning as much as 30–40% faster than people without hearing loss. Additionally, hearing loss leads to an elevated risk for depression, falls, and other serious health conditions.
The next step is further exploring the possible link between hearing loss and dementia and to evaluate if seniors who get treatment for their hearing loss can preempt the development of dementia. With 48 million people in the U.S. alone struggling with some sort of hearing loss, the prospective impact of better understanding this relationship is substantial.
What Is the Best Way to Help a Loved One With Hearing Loss?
Also, encourage your family member to remain socially active in spite of hearing loss. Having a companion accompany the person on visits with family and friends or on outings is a wonderful way to help them feel more at ease and safe. The companion can be a liaison when needed to help the person take part in conversations and not feel left out.
At Abby Senior Care, our home care professionals make exceptional companions for people with hearing loss or any other health condition. We can provide transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments as well as fun outings, along with a wide range of individualized support services at home or on the go.
We also offer specialized care services for those with dementia. Our fully trained and experienced experts understand the distinct challenges associated with the disease and provide creative, compassionate solutions.