When checking in on Mom, you notice the television is blaring, and she’s asking you to repeat everything you say, or to speak up because she thinks you’re mumbling. Some amount of hearing loss is fairly common in older loved ones, and of course is deserving of staying on top of through routine hearing screenings. But there’s an additional reason to pay special attention to any loss of hearing in seniors: the link between dementia and hearing loss.
What’s the Connection Between Dementia and Loss of Hearing?
Researchers believe there are several factors that go hand in hand with a senior’s hearing loss and their increased risk for dementia.
- When a loved one has hearing loss later in life, the brain starts to shrink more rapidly
- Loss of hearing may cause seniors to limit their social time with other people, leading to a reduction in brain activity and engagement as well as intellectual stimulation
- The brain has to work harder to comprehend audible input, influencing memory and thinking as it strains to fill in the gaps of missed speech
Studies have already shown that older adults dealing with diminished hearing also go through a reduction in cognitive functioning as much as 30–40% faster than individuals without hearing loss. In addition, hearing loss causes a heightened risk for falls, depression, and other serious health issues.
The next step is further examining the prospective link between hearing loss and dementia and to see whether seniors who get treatment for their hearing loss can avoid developing dementia. With 48 million people in the U.S. alone struggling with some kind of hearing loss, the potential impact of better comprehending this connection is important.
What Is the Best Way to Help a Loved One 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 an excellent way to help them feel more comfortable and assured. The companion can serve as a liaison when needed to help the individual participate in conversations and not feel left out.
At Absolute Companion Care, our caregivers make excellent companions for those with hearing loss or other health conditions. We can provide transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments as well as fun outings, along with a wide selection of customized support services in the home or on the go.
We also provide specialized care services for those with dementia. Our fully trained and experienced experts know the unique challenges of the disease and offer creative, compassionate solutions.