When visiting with Mom, you observe the TV is blaring, and she’s asking you to repeat everything you say, or even to speak up because she believes you’re talking too quietly. Some degree of hearing loss is common in older loved ones, and definitely requires staying on top of through regular hearing screenings. But there is an additional reason to pay special attention to any hearing deficiencies in seniors: the connection between dementia and hearing loss.
What Is the Link Between Dementia and Loss of Hearing?
Can hearing loss cause dementia? Researchers believe there are various factors that go hand in hand with a senior’s hearing loss and their increased risk for dementia.
- When a loved one experiences hearing loss later in life, the brain begins to shrink more swiftly
- Hearing loss might cause seniors to reduce their social interactions with other people, resulting in a reduction in brain activity and engagement along with intellectual stimulation
- The brain needs to work harder to understand audible input, affecting memory and thinking as it strains to fill in the gaps of missed speech
Research has already shown that older loved ones who have diminished hearing also have a reduction in cognitive functioning as much as 30–40% faster than individuals without hearing loss. What’s more, hearing loss leads to an elevated risk for falls, depression, and other serious health issues.
The next step is further exploring the potential link between dementia and hearing loss and to evaluate if seniors who receive treatment for their hearing loss can avoid developing dementia. With 48 million people in the U.S. alone struggling with some type of hearing loss, the possible impact of better understanding this connection is immense.
How Can You Help Someone You Love With Hearing Loss?
Also, encourage your family member to stay socially active in spite of hearing loss. Having a companion accompany the person on visits with family and friends or on outings is a fantastic way to help them feel more comfortable and secure. The companion can serve as a liaison when needed to help the person engage in conversations and not feel left.
At Home With You Senior Care, our care providers make exceptional companions for those with hearing loss or other health issues. We can provide accompaniment and transportation to medical appointments as well as fun outings, along with a wide range 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 understand the distinct challenges of the disease and provide creative, compassionate solutions.