November marks the start of the holiday season. We get together with family and friends to touch base, catch up and talk about future plans. Many of our memories revolve around holiday traditions and holiday memories. November is also National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, created in 1983 by Ronald Reagan. At that time, about 2 million Americans were afflicted with Alzheimer’s – today, that number is over 5 million. Dementia is the most common form of Alzheimer’s – 60 to 80% of those with Alzheimer’s have dementia and it is currently the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
Untreated hearing loss has been indicated as one of the risk factors leading to cognitive decline or dementia and researchers now emphasize that hearing loss should be aggressively treated. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of Lifestyle Hearing Solutions’ free hearing tests at either of our Tucson or Oro Valley locations.
Alzheimer’s Disease Risk Factors and Symptoms
Alzheimer’s disease appears in individuals that are 65 or older, but there are thousands of people under the age of 65 that have early onset Alzheimer’s. Women with age-related hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia. Common risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease include: lack of education, midlife high blood pressure, obesity, depression, diabetes, physical inactivity, smoking, social isolation and hearing loss.
Memory loss is a symptom, but it goes beyond just simple forgetfulness. People with Alzheimer’s disease forget things they’ve learned, such as how to operate the microwave, TV, or cars. They forget dates and events. They forget they’ve asked a question during a conversation and ask it again and again.
Planning trips or events, completing recipes, and solving problems become difficult. You may see loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease take longer amounts of time to complete otherwise mundane tasks like folding the laundry or doing the dishes.
People with Alzheimer’s disease may experience confusion with time or places and often lose track of time. They may not realize they’ve been driving around for hours, and they forget where they are and how they got there. When we lose something, we can retrace our steps to try to find it. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease struggle with this: they misplace objects and find it difficult to retrace their steps. Oftentimes, people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease develop paranoia when they misplace objects, believing that others are stealing their possessions.
As such, people with Alzheimer’s disease may undergo significant changes to mood and behavior. They experience mood swings, become suspicious of others, and may believe that beloved family members and caretakers are plotting against them. They become depressed and may not engage in verbal communication at all.
How hearing loss plays a part
With untreated hearing loss, an individual must concentrate on deciphering the bits and pieces of information they hear. Putting that together could exhaust their cognitive abilities. With untreated hearing loss, each day is a struggle with communication and new experiences lead to frustration. This puts a lot of stress on the brain, which spends far too much time engaged in processing sound. This could sap energy for other processes, such as encoding memories associated with events, time, directions and the environment.
Hearing aids help
Brain imaging conducted on seniors with untreated hearing loss shows gray areas or areas of the brain that have started to shrink due to disuse. Hearing devices have been found to restore these areas by supporting better hearing health. Studies in the United States and Europe reveal that individuals who treat their hearing loss with the use of hearing aids experience a better quality of life. They report being less depressed, more socially active, and more engaged in their environment – all things that can help keep your brain sharp and hold dementia at bay.
Get a hearing test today
If you are struggling with hearing loss, look no further than Lifestyle Hearing Solutions. Our professional staff is here to support you on the journey to better hearing. We will answer your questions and walk you through the process of a hearing test. If hearing loss is detected, we’ll work with you to find the best solution. As far as hearing aids go, we offer models to suit all budgets and lifestyles. Don’t miss a making a memory this holiday season – contact us today for an appointment.