When checking in on Mom, you find the TV is blaring, and she is asking you to repeat what you’ve just said, or to speak up because she thinks you’re mumbling. Some amount of hearing loss is definitely typical in seniors, and requires staying on top of through routine hearing tests. But there’s an additional reason to pay special attention to any hearing issues in seniors: the connection between memory loss and hearing loss.
What Is the Link Between Memory Loss and Hearing Loss?
Researchers believe there are many factors that go hand in hand with a senior’s hearing loss and their increased risk for dementia.
- When a person experiences hearing loss later in life, the brain starts to shrink more swiftly
- Hearing problems may cause seniors to limit their social time with other individuals, triggering a reduction in brain activity and engagement as well as intellectual stimulation
- The brain must work harder to comprehend audible input, impacting memory and thinking as it strains to fill in the holes of missed conversation
Research has already identified that older adults dealing with a decline in hearing also go through a reduction in cognitive functioning as much as 30–40% faster than people without hearing loss. Additionally, hearing loss contributes to an elevated risk for falls, depression, and other serious health problems.
The next step is further examining the prospective link between memory loss and hearing loss and to evaluate if seniors who receive treatment for their hearing loss can preempt the development of dementia. With 48 million people in the U.S. alone struggling with some sort of hearing loss, the possible impact of better understanding this connection is significant.
What Is the Best Way to Help a Loved One With Hearing Loss?
Also, encourage your family member to remain socially active despite hearing loss. Having a companion accompany the senior on visits with friends and family or on outings is a fantastic way to help them feel more comfortable and assured. The companion can act as a liaison when needed to help the senior participate in conversations and not feel left.
At Hearts at Home In-Home Care, our caregivers make excellent companions for those with hearing loss or other health condition. We can provide transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments as well as fun outings, along with a full array of customized support services in the home or on the go.
We also provide specialized care services for people with dementia. Our fully trained and experienced experts know the unique challenges associated with the disease and supply creative, compassionate solutions.