Each year in September, there is an international effort to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and the stigma attached to the disease. Dementia is a nonreversible decline in mental functions. As a result, thought, memory, emotion, language and awareness of surroundings are all affected.
Alzheimer’s is a disease and the most common form of dementia. Sixty to 80% of dementia cases are attributed to the disease, Alzheimer’s. Dementia can be caused by other things, Parkinson’s, alcoholism and high blood pressure.
Globally, two out of three people believe there is little to no understanding of dementia in their countries even though Alzheimer’s is projected to impact 152 million people world-wide by 2050.
There are factors that put you more at risk for dementia. Those factors include: rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, obesity and – untreated hearing loss.
Audiology Associates of Redding is ready to help you control one of those factors that put you at risk: hearing loss. Each of the factors increases your risk of getting dementia three to six more times than someone who does not have one of the factors. A hearing evaluation and hearing aids from Audiology Associates of Redding can help you decrease your risks.
EARLY INDICATORS OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
Early indicators of Alzheimer’s are a more serious than occasionally forgetting where you put your keys. They do include memory loss, but also problems finding the right word in a conversation as well as the right name for an object, problems understanding what people are saying, not being able to perform that were previously routine tasks as well as personality and mood changes.
Some other early warning signs are: getting lost in familiar places, trouble handling cash and paying bills, repeating the same questions over and over in a very short time, placing items in odd places and confusion over time and events. Personality changes that occur include paranoia and distrust of family members as well as caregivers. As Alzheimer’s progresses, the ability to function in any sort of environment decreases.
COGNITION AND HEARING LOSS
Hearing loss is a fact of aging. There are 48 million Americans dealing with hearing loss now. As you get older, the chances of losing your hearing do increase. After age 75, a majority of people do have some hearing loss. Dr. Frank Lin, an otologist and epidemiologist with Johns Hopkins University, studied cognitive decline and hearing loss and the conclusions of those studies is that treating hearing loss can help ward off cognitive decline and dementia. Too often adults wait up to seven years before getting treatment for their hearing loss.
ALZHEIMER’S AND BRAIN POWER
To keep your cognitive abilities sharp, you must use your brain and you must have some outside stimulation. Social interaction, driving, shopping and even walking in the park are all great brain exercises. Baking, doing the crossword puzzle and playing word games, even reading all help keep you sharp.
Untreated hearing loss causes your brain to struggle repeatedly with what fragments of conversations mean. It puts what scientists call a “cognitive load” on certain areas of the brain and not others. If you are using too much of your brain for one thing – other cognitive abilities are reduced.
Most people with untreated hearing loss tend to withdraw from activities outside the home. They find it embarrassing to not be able to hear conversations and respond correctly. Those with untreated hearing loss withdraw from their friends and social circles. This cuts out a valuable piece of social interaction that keeps your cognitive abilities sharp. Untreated hearing loss also has been recognized as one of the leading causes of depression in seniors. Lack of socialization as well as depression have long been recognized as factors that can lead to cognitive decline and dementia.
AUDIOLOGY ASSOCIATES OF REDDING
Studies show hearing aids improve both the emotion and physical qualities of a person’s life. Additionally, when someone treats their hearing loss, others around them recognize that the quality of their interactions improve!
Hearing clearly helps you connect with family, friends, and the world around you. Let Audiology Associates of Redding, with our decades of experience, help you. We offer competitive pricing, the patience and knowledge to explain the latest in hearing aid technology and how it can help you.