When visiting with Mom, you notice the TV is blaring, and she’s asking you to repeat everything you say, or even to speak up because she believes you’re mumbling. Some amount of hearing loss is quite common in older loved ones, and of course warrants staying on top of through regular hearing examinations. But there’s another reason to pay special attention to any hearing deficiencies in seniors: the connection between hearing loss and dementia.
What’s the Connection Between Hearing Loss and Dementia?
Researchers believe there are many factors that link a senior’s hearing loss with a greater risk for dementia.
- When a person experiences hearing loss later in life, the brain starts to shrink more quickly
- Loss of hearing might cause seniors to limit their social time with other people, causing a reduction in brain activity and engagement along with intellectual stimulation
- The brain needs to work harder in order to comprehend audible input, impacting memory and thinking as it strains to fill in the gaps of missed dialogue
Researchers have already found that seniors suffering from a decline in hearing also experience a decline in cognitive functioning as much as 30–40% faster than individuals without hearing loss. In addition, hearing loss leads to an elevated risk for falls, depression, and other serious health issues.
The next step is further exploring the possible connection between hearing loss and dementia and to assess if seniors who obtain 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 link is immense.
What Is the Best Way to Help a Loved One With Hearing Loss?
Also, encourage your family member to remain socially active despite hearing loss. Having a companion accompany the senior on visits with family and friends or on outings is a good way to help them feel more comfortable and safe. The companion can serve as a liaison when needed to help the senior take part in conversations and not feel left out.
At Live Free Home Health Care, our senior care professionals make great companions for those with hearing loss or other health issues. We can provide transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments as well as fun outings, along with a full variety of personalized support services at home or on the go.
We also offer specialized care services for those with dementia. Our fully trained and experienced experts know the specific challenges associated with the disease and provide creative, compassionate solutions.