July 5, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille

senior man with hearing loss

Are you finding the need to turn the television up louder for an older adult you love? Conversing more loudly? Repeating topics your senior loved one missed hearing the first time? Hearing loss in seniors is not uncommon. But new scientific studies are pointing to a surprising link between hearing loss treatment and preventing dementia.

How Hearing and Cognitive Functioning Are Related

There are a number of hypotheses researchers are investigating to explain the link between hearing loss and dementia:

  1. The brain’s memory and thinking systems are impacted when it has to focus harder to strain to hear and to fill in the gaps when communication is missed.
  2. An older brain shrinks more rapidly because of hearing loss.
  3. Less social interaction contributes to less mental stimulation and a less active and engaged brain.

It is vitally important to determine the specific basis for this connection and to discover if treating hearing loss can help. The number of individuals who could be impacted is astounding, with up to 37.5 million Americans currently experiencing some degree of hearing loss.

We already know that those diagnosed with hearing loss have a decline in cognitive functioning at a rate of 30 – 40% faster than those with normal hearing. Not just that, but hearing loss escalates the risk for additional health issues, for example, depression and falls.

The good news is that medical researchers at Johns Hopkins are presently attempting to determine whether hearing loss treatment might actually minimize brain aging and prevent dementia. A study of almost 1,000 seniors with hearing loss is underway, and by as early as next year, we’ll have the information necessary for a path forward.

If a person you love has difficulties with hearing loss, encourage them to get a checkup and to wear hearing aids if recommended by the doctor. Our care providers can even provide transportation for that checkup if needed.

In addition, our dementia care specialists are available to assist individuals with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia to stay safe, comfortable, and engaged in enjoyable and meaningful activities. We can also assist with more effectively managing a few of the challenging behaviors related to dementia, such as aggression, agitation, wandering, sundowning, and more.

Just call us any time at (315) 579-HOME (4663) for more information on how we provide the kind of elder care Memphis, NY and other surrounding areas choose first. We offer a free of cost in-home consultation to answer all of your questions and to develop a personalized plan of care to best meet your needs. To learn more about all of the different areas we serve in New York, please visit our Service Area page.