Dementia Care: Can You Hear Me Now?


Dementia Care: Can You Hear Me Now?

Dementia CareAs part of the complimentary assessment that Seniors Helping Seniors does for those looking for dementia care in Western Montgomery or Upper Bucks County for either themselves or a loved one, we ask for a brief medical history.  I’m always surprised at how many clients have problems hearing but admit that they don’t wear their hearing aids.  Sometimes it’s for vanity reasons and sometimes because the hearing aids “don’t work.”

I walk away wondering “aren’t they missing the conversations and sounds of everyday life every single day?”  It must be incredibly frustrating.  I know how hard it is to be at a loud party and concentrating so hard to hear the other person that you’re really not processing what they’re saying but nodding as if you do.  Or what about trying to listen to someone’s speech like at a wedding reception or a business meeting and because the microphone isn’t working or the person isn’t speaking loud enough, you have no idea what’s being said.

It is thought that two thirds of adults over 70 years old have hearing loss.  With the population continuing to age, it’s important to identify factors that cause cognitive decline and dementia, especially if there is a solution to the problem.

A new study by Dr. Frank Lin, an assistant professor of otolaryngology, geriatrics, and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University, shows that among the elderly who have a hearing loss, their rate of cognitive decline is up to 40% faster than those with normal hearing.  In addition, they also have a greater risk for cognitive decline, resulting in the need for dementia care, sometimes in the home.

The study did not show a significant relationship between using a hearing aid and a lower risk of cognitive decline, however, the study wasn’t really meant to address that issue.  Dr. Linn feels, however, that hearing aid use should certainly make some kind of difference, at least in more social interaction rather than social isolation.

According to AARP, having a hearing aid is not just about putting it in your ear.  Ask your audiologist about aural education and rehabilitation.  Having spent lots of money on a hearing aid, make sure you are satisfied with the results so return visits to the audiologist are not out of the question.  Before purchasing hearing aides, be sure to do some research ahead of time.