Alzheimer’s disease affects more than five million Americans. Its debilitating symptoms include depression, memory loss, and confusion. The disease is devastating in the wake of its destruction, but there’s hope. Research has come to suggest that hearing aids might help delay or avoid the effects of the disease and other forms of dementia. But if you already have Alzheimer’s disease, can hearing aids be of good use? The answer is yes because any hearing loss can add to mental decline.
World Alzheimer’s Day has been established to support efforts for finding a cure for the disease, make life more comfortable for patients and their families, and to raise awareness. This day is important in outlining the research findings to date. Below are some findings and what they mean for the future.
Alzheimer’s disease and hearing loss
Hearing loss can worsen the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Without hearing aids for hearing loss, Alzheimer’s patients have increased feelings of confusion, experience social isolation, and have difficulty communicating. Often untested and diagnosed, hearing loss causes a lack of response to verbal cues, often mistaken for the increased decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
At the very least, a hearing test can determine if simple ear wax buildup is the problem with clear communication. But if hearing loss is determined to be the case, being fitted with them may be wildly beneficial.
The truth about hearing aids and Alzheimer’s disease
A 2003 United Kingdom-based study determined that when mild hearing loss sufferers with dementia were fitted with hearing aids, mental decline lessened in 42 percent of the participants, according to the Clinical Global Impression of change scale. There was also a 32.9 percent increase, collectively, in audible speech with the use of hearing aids.
In a 2013 study, which was featured in the American Journal of Epidemiology, patients with Alzheimer’s who wore hearing aids showed a slower rate of cognitive decline compared to those people without hearing aids. Also, the study found that hearing loss sufferers wearing hearing aids only had a slightly greater decline than people with normal hearing.
Making better how Alzheimer’s patients hear the world
It may be too soon to give hearing aids to all Alzheimer’s patients with hearing loss, but the studies indicate positive results. Further examination is being done with the connection between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease. It certainly appears that the quality of life can be improved, which makes it a worthwhile effort to continue the studies. For more information, please contact a hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.