senior man in pain holding ear from tinnitus

A Link Between Hearing Loss & Dementia

Dementia is a condition linked to memory loss, reasoning, or other thinking skills. There are many kinds of dementia, and many things can cause it. Alzheimer’s disease causes 60–80% of dementia cases, making it the most common type. By 2050, it is thought that there will be about 14 million more cases of Alzheimer’s in the U.S.

Many studies have shown that hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease are often linked. In fact, studies show that treating hearing loss can make a big difference in how well the brain works. 

What is Alzheimer’s?

This neurodegenerative brain disease makes it hard to remember things and thinks clearly. Even the most straightforward tasks get harder to do as time goes on. Named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer found that the brain tissue of his older patients had changed. In the brain of one patient, he found strange clumps that we now call amyloid plaques and tangled bundles of fibers that we now call neurofibrillary.

Even now, these plaques and tangles in the brain make this common illness stand out in people 65 and older. The loss of connections between nerve cells in the brain is another thing that sets it apart. This happens when brain cells get hurt, which leads to brain atrophy to the point where brain cells can’t talk to each other anymore.

Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Family, friends, and coworkers can be confused by the signs of hearing loss because they can look like early signs of dementia. This is because when you can’t hear, it’s easy to give the wrong answer or not answer when someone asks you a question. This can make someone think you don’t care about other people and are often confused when you’re with them. This can make it hard to tell the difference between hearing loss and dementia.

Usually, the two conditions feed off each other and worsen both symptoms. It also makes it hard to figure out what’s wrong with a person’s hearing when they have dementia.

Old age, Alzheimer’s, and hearing loss

Many people with dementia will probably also have trouble hearing. This is partly because both conditions happen to many more people after they turn 65. One in three people over 65 has trouble hearing, and one in 14 people over 65 has dementia. People are living longer than ever before, which is probably why these health problems are becoming more common.

Hearing loss causes brain strain.

People often lose their hearing slowly as they get older, which can lead to dementia. This is because as hearing loss gets worse, there are more gaps between what your ears and brain can hear. This means that your brain has to work harder than before and use resources from other parts of the brain to hear. 

Hearing loss can happen over a long period without the person being aware. During this time, social interactions often become less enjoyable. This makes sense since not hearing what people say is frustrating and stressful. Because of this, there are a lot of people with hearing loss who choose to be alone. Researchers also think being lonely and isolated is a significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Brain atrophy, which increases the risk of Alzheimer’s, is caused by not using the brain enough and being alone for a long time.

How to deal with Alzheimer’s and hearing loss

Both problems often happen at the same time, which makes them worse. You can do things to help yourself or a loved one who has one or both of these conditions. For example, making the environment easier for people who have trouble communicating will reduce stress and help them talk clearly. 

It is beneficial to talk in quiet places, turn down background music, and ensure a room is well-lit. This makes communicating hard and makes people feel more alone and less independent.

Use hand gestures, facial expressions, and a clear view of your face when you talk.

Use what you can see to help you and write down important information.

Book a hearing test.

Help fight Alzheimer’s by making an appointment for a hearing test today! Older adults’ hearing should be checked every year to ensure it isn’t getting worse. If it is, it gives you a chance to try hearing aids, which can slow the dementia process by a lot. Contact us today.