If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or is showing signs of dementia, a thorough hearing check is in order.
There is strong evidence that hearing impairment contributes to the progression of cognitive dysfunction in older adults. If not managed, as for example with hearing aids, hearing loss can interrupt the cognitive processing of spoken language and sound.
But when an individual has both Alzheimer’s and hearing loss, many of the symptoms of hearing loss can interact with those common to Alzheimer’s, making the disease more difficult than it might be if the loved one has been treated for hearing loss.
“When left unaddressed, hearing loss can compound the difficulties that people with Alzheimer’s and their families already face,” says Paul Lloyd, Audioprosthologist at Edison Stanford Hearing Centers. “But in many cases, the appropriate use of hearing aids can benefit Alzheimer’s patients.”
Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness, increased risk to personal safety, irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, and diminished psychological and overall health.
“A comprehensive hearing assessment should be part of any Alzheimer’s diagnosis and any hearing loss should be appropriately addressed,” says Lloyd. “By addressing the hearing loss, we can help improve quality-of-life for those who have Alzheimer’s and help them live as fully as possible.”
About Alzheimer’s Disease
(Source: Alzheimer’s Association)
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and fatal brain disease that causes problems with memory loss, thinking and behavior. Today, as many as 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, from 2000 to 2006, deaths attributed to Alzheimer’s disease increased 47.1 percent. With a rapidly aging population, Alzheimer's will continue to impact more lives in the coming years. (Source: Alzheimer’s Association)
The Alzheimer’s Association has organized an awareness campaign, “Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters,” that identifies the warning signs of Alzheimer’s. Any individual experiencing one or more of the signs should see a doctor to find the cause.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the 10 signs include:
• Memory changes that disrupt daily life
• Challenges in planning or solving problems
• Difficulty completing familiar tasks
• Confusion with time or place
• Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
• New problems with words in speaking or writing
• Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
• Decreased or poor judgment
• Withdrawal from work or social activities
• Changes in mood and personality
For more information about the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, early detection and diagnosis, contact the Alzheimer’s Association at 877.IS.IT.ALZ (877.474.8259) or visit www.alz.org/10signs.