Alzheimer’s disease and hearing loss, both make day-to-day life much more challenging. But did you know these 2 conditions are linked? Recent studies have shown a clear link between the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and hearing loss.
The worse the hearing loss the greater the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Mild hearing loss doubles your risk of developing dementia, while severe hearing loss ups your risk by 5 times.
Thankfully there is good news.
Hearing loss can make Alzheimer’s worse and vice versa but hearing loss is treatable and treatment can help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
First a note on what Alzheimer’s disease is.
This disease affects the brain, causing nerve cells to die. It is more common in old age and results in people becoming increasingly confused and forgetful. Daily tasks like getting dressed or going out eventually become too difficult to manage alone.
There is no cure and the disease gets worse as the years roll by but it can be slowed down. And this is where early diagnosis is important.
Diagnosis with awareness is the key
Alzheimer’s is diagnosed through a series of cognitive tests. The problem is certain results can suggest late stage dementia, even though these results are actually due to hearing loss. This is because part of the test involves testing hearing and understanding of speech.
Alzheimer’s can be slowed down with different mental exercises and engaging in stimulating activities every day. But hearing loss can make doing this a challenge.
How can an Audiologist help?
With an accurate diagnosis of hearing loss from an Audiologist, the right treatment can be given to improve a person’s hearing, such as medication and/or hearing aids. With their hearing improved, a more accurate assessment for Alzheimer’s can be carried out.
Once this is done, they can take better advantage of the many techniques used to slow down Alzheimer’s disease.
Treating hearing loss also helps people stay social and engaged with the world, which is important for reducing the risk of developing dementia too.
So the take home message: get your hearing health in good shape and you’ll be able to keep your brain healthier for longer too.
At North Houston Hearing Solutions L.L.C., we look forward to being part of your healthcare team. We will work with you and your other medical professionals to improve your wellbeing and help you experience all the sounds of the world around you.
Dr. Lacey Brooks received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry in 2003, and earned her doctorate of audiology in 2009. She completed her clinical internships and residency at various facilities within Houston Medical Center. Dr. Brooks is a professional member of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), a member of the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA), and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is also the vice president of the Louisiana State University Houston Chapter Alumni Association.