Is your loved one forgetting things? This may be because they do not properly hear a lot of what is said to them. A study published June, 2019 in the Canadian Journal on Aging suggests that hearing loss may be the reason for some kinds of memory loss. Thus, if a person does not hear clearly what is said to them, they will not be able to remember it.
The Baycrest Study
Participants in the study were 20 people over age 70, who were at Baycrest, a hospital-based outpatient neuropsychology clinic in Toronto. They were given a neuropsychological assessment to see if dementia was responsible for their memory problems. After this testing they were also sent for a hearing screening test.
The majority 56% of the participants had some kind of mild to severe hearing loss and only 20% of them were using hearing aids. A quarter of the participants were not found to have signs of memory loss due to a brain disorder. Some of the seniors were sent to a hearing clinic for a full assessment of their hearing loss. In some cases the researchers also recommended the use of a hearing aid.
Research has Shown that Hearing Loss is a Leading Risk for Dementia
Research has shown that hearing loss is a leading risk for dementia. However, since this can be helped with a hearing aid or surgical procedures, many cases of dementia could be prevented. According to Marilyn Reed, an author of the study, seniors who do not hear well have problems communicating and may withdraw from social activities. This leads to isolation, loneliness and a poorer quality of life which raises a higher risk for dementia. Research has shown that seniors who live in isolation have a high risk for health issues including dementia. See our blog post from August 9, 2019 how seniors who are socially active have a lower risk for dementia.
Hearing Loss in Seniors
Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition in seniors and affects 50% of seniors over the age of 65 and 90% of seniors over the age of 80. Most people do not seek treatment for about 10 years. Also, fewer than 25% of people who need hearing aids will buy them. Most hearing loss in seniors is age-related hearing loss called presbycusis. However, hearing loss can also be from loud noises. According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), it is estimated that one in three seniors in the United States aged 65-74 show some hearing loss. See our blog post from August 2, 2019 to read more about hearing loss and aging.
Risks for Hearing Loss
- Family history as age-related hearing loss tends to run in families
- Repeated exposure to loud noises
- Certain medicines, such as chemotherapy drugs for cancer
Loss of hearing often occurs slowly over time.
- Difficulty hearing people around you
- Frequently asking people to repeat what they said
- Frustration at not being able to hear
- Certain sounds are too loud
- Difficulty hearing in noisy areas
- Problems telling apart certain sounds, such as “s” or “th”
- More difficulty understanding people with higher-pitched voices
- Ringing in the ears
Talk to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. Symptoms of presbycusis may be like symptoms of other medical problems.
Memory Care at Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, NJ
If you or your loved one are suffering from memory loss and dementia, the Park Crescent healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey provides memory care at its best. For people in advanced stages of dementia there is a Snoezelen room that offers unique sensory therapies, audiovisual stimuli, pastoral scenes and aromatherapy. The caregivers are specially trained to care for people with memory loss and dementia.
If you or your loved one have hearing loss, it certainly pays to treat it, so as to have a better quality of life and a lower risk for dementia.