Dementia – Alzheimer’s and Hearing Loss

May 3, 2017 in Our News & Bulletins by Anchor Health Care

I just read this from a book by June Andrews, Dementia What You Need to Know.  June is one of the leading authorities on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the UK. Losing your hearing is a bit like going to a foreign country where you speak only a bit of the language.  You struggle and just trying to get by leaves you totally exhausted. This is exactly what happens to people who suffer hearing loss.  As a result, they may start to withdraw from many of the activities they used to enjoy because certain scenarios might tire them out, or might be embarrassing or difficult.  Now we think this could have a worrying knock out effect.  Evidence is emerging that deafness may lead to dementia.  Whether one is causing the other or whether they’re simply associated is not clear.  But we do know that deafness leads to a greater cognitive load.  If your brain has to make more of an effort o do one task.  It will be compromised in others.  

If you have good concentration you can ignore what is going on around you.  When concentration is difficult, extraneous noise makes life difficult particularly if you are prone to misinterpreting noises because of cognitive impairment.  Take time to sit in your house with your eyes closed and listen to the noises around you.  See what you can do to reduce any of them.

Remember the difference between sound and noise.  After they get a hearing aid, people tell you that is is difficult at first.  Everything is amplified, so the noise of say the air conditioning and traffic is a noticeable as the sound of voices in the room.  They have a problem in differentiating between background noise and meaningful sounds  People with dementia seem to have a similar difficulty.  It is hard for anyone to concentrate if there are lots of distracting noises and they are tired.  Anything you  can do in your house to minimize meaningless noise is very valuable.  If you have an impaired capacity to think you need all the help you can get.

Make sure that hearing aids are well maintained and that more than one person knows how to adjust them and replace the batteries.  Controls can be very small and awkward.  Remember that a build-up of earwax can ocurr at any time and get ears checked regularly.. You must not assume that the person does not understand you because of their dementia when in fact they are just not hearing you because they need to have a nurse to syringe the ears.

Studies show that people do not get themselves a hearing aid until years after they would benefit, so consider a test.  People wh lack their back teeth seem to risk a build up of excess earwax because its production and elimination are promoted by jaw movement.  The nurse will be able to syringe ears regularly if the doctor can see that sort of problem.  Hearing aid use can cause earwax to be impacted and should be checked on a regular basis.

I am someone who has been wearing hearing aids for a number of years due to loss of hearing from artillery fire.   I am so thankful for my hearing aids if I didn’t have them I would be lost.  I hope this information was helpful.  June Andrew’s book is available on Amazon.com.

Bob Zangas – Anchor Health Care

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email