November: Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
The holidays are coming, so people are getting ready to gather with friends and family to celebrate! Planning and communicating through texts, emails, social media, and phone calls can get hectic.
November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. It is commonly associated with hearing loss that has gone untreated, so we also want to remind people to monitor their hearing health - which often goes unnoticed.
Alzheimer’s is Not a Natural Part of Aging
Alzheimer’s is a disease that impacts the area of the brain that manages memory, speech, thought processing, and problem-solving. The most common type of Alzheimer’s is dementia. Not all elderly people develop Alzheimer’s. Simply being a little forgetful does not indicate that you have Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s can manifest itself as standing in a familiar spot and not knowing where you are, getting lost in familiar places, difficulty handling money and paying bills, repeating yourself over and over again in a short span of time, taking longer to complete simple tasks, having poor judgment, losing things or putting them in strange places, or changes in mood and personality.
Dementia and Hearing Loss
Over 48 million people in the U.S. have some range of hearing loss. Most people who would benefit from hearing aids do not use them. Several factors can account for the reason why including the stigma that comes with hearing loss, the cost of hearing aids, or not believing their hearing is as bad as it actually is. Evidence and professional research have associated dementia with hearing loss that went untreated.
Problems with hearing can affect the way the brain functions and researchers believe that untreated hearing loss shifts cognitive performance - overworking some areas while not using others - which raises the chances of dementia. The brain works like muscles in the body, they become atrophied if you don’t exercise them. Hearing is an exercise for the brain. When you find it difficult to process information during conversations due to hearing loss, this is known as cognitive overload. Struggling to process sounds, while reading people’s lips when they talk, or reading non-verbal cues causes stress to the brain. As a result, other parts of the brain that are used to solve problems or create memories can’t function properly. Brain imaging that was done on seniors who had untreated hearing loss showed evidence that there were areas of the brain which were inactive.
Isolation and Dementia caused by Hearing Loss
A healthy brain thrives on socializing, exercising, and keeping up with your hobbies. Those with untreated hearing loss have been shown to be socially isolated due to struggles with hearing and communication. Alienating themselves feels easier and less frustrating than trying to make out a conversation with someone.
Hearing loss that goes untreated can have a ripple effect on your life and mental health. It’s best to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Get Your Hearing Tested Immediately
If hearing aids are recommended after your hearing test, studies have shown that seniors who have hearing loss and cognitive problems can find hearing aids to be helpful.
Contact Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation from one of our hearing aid providers. They’ll go over your hearing test results and recommend the appropriate treatment options.
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