Hearing Loss Is Common in Dementia & Alzheimer’s Patients
Untreated hearing loss is associated with social isolation, clinical depression, heart disease, a possibly compromised immune system as well as memory loss.
Additionally, senior citizens that suffer with hearing loss are more likely to also develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those who do not have hearing loss.
Studies of about 2,000 seniors with a mean average age of 77 years over a period of 6 years found that there’s a greater likelihood of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease when hearing loss is severe. Moreover, even seniors with mild hearing loss were more prone to cognitive failures. The reason is that hearing loss can accelerate atrophy of the brain’s gray matter (middle and inferior temporal gyri) which are integral to memory and sensory integration and, in turn, makes listening and comprehension more difficult. (Interestingly, similar atrophy is also noted in people with Alzheimer’s disease.) And the way to combat it, to improve hearing, and to preserve brain function is to wear hearing aids.
If your hearing specialist can diagnose hearing loss in the early stages, more of your hearing can be preserved and the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can be slowed down.
In short, hearing aids not only improve hearing function but they can mitigate or prevent brain atrophy and subsequent onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.