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Can I Wait Another Year Before Getting Hearing Aids? Hearing Loss and Dementia

Hearing Loss and DementiaAge-related hearing loss is often thought of as a normal part of growing older, but preventing and treating hearing loss is critical, not only for maintaining hearing, but also more importantly, for brain function.

Over the past decade, there have been more and more evidential conclusions on studies related to hearing loss and cognitive decline. Why are these disorders so closely related? When there is auditory deprivation there is a significant strain on the area of the brain that processes communication. This area of the temporal lobe is called the primary auditory and it not only controls hearing, but also the way language is processed.

Individuals that struggle with hearing often become less social, and therefore their cognitive decline is affected by less interaction and less mental processing. It is also thought that other senses effected like smell and vision loss will exacerbate cognitive issues due to a cause of degeneration in these areas of the brain.

If you get early treatment, which is typically hearing aids, you can slow down the natural progression of hearing loss. Hearing loss is NOT like fine wine, as it gets much worse with age. There is a use it or lose it theory, so waiting for hearing loss to get worse, before getting hearing aids is not a sound approach. In a way, you are asking for your hearing loss to get worse sooner vs. getting early treatment.

Dr. Maya Berenson, Audiologist at Palm Beach Hearing Associates states, “I have patients seeking treatment in their mid 90’s, and it’s important to realize that when your very first hearing device is acquired at that age, the adjustment process on the brain and the use and maintenance of the device is much more difficult than if treatment was initiated closer to the onset of the hearing loss. It is much easier to recover from surgery when you are younger vs. older, as it is much easier for the brain to adjust to hearing aids and help preserve hearing if treated at a younger age.”

Nearly 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to triple by 2050. Experts estimate that an Alzheimer’s diagnosis will affect close to 15 million people by mid-century.
Forgetfulness, agitation, and frustration, social withdraw, and difficulty with daily tasks, are all symptoms of Dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most progressive form of dementia. As the “tangles” in the Alzheimer’s brain become unattached, they disrupt the communication in the brain.

There is no cure for dementia. The pharmaceutical drugs that get rid of amyloid plaque rarely help. Many researchers now, understand that the plaque buildup in the brain is the bodies’ natural way of protecting it, so removing the plaque is pointless. Taking care of our health is critical to staving off memory related decline, and this includes many factors like eating a healthy diet, eliminating toxins and chemicals, preventing infections, staying social, brain training and protecting our hearing.

Dr. Doraiswamy is also a highly-regarded researcher on this subject. P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University School of Medicine and coauthor of The Alzheimer’s Action Plan, states that “The improvement in cognition was huge, about double that seen with any of the current FDA drugs for treating Alzheimer’s.” He continued, “Studies have shown that uncorrected vision problems raise the risk for dementia. Every doctor knows that hearing loss can result in cognitive problems, but they still don’t focus on it as a priority when they evaluate someone with suspected dementia, which is a big missed opportunity. The benefits of correcting hearing loss on cognition are twice as large as the benefits from any cognitive-enhancing drugs now on the market. It should be the first thing we focus on.”
If you are experiencing hearing loss, it’s important to seek a qualified audiologist, because they are trained to get you the best outcome and resolution for your specific issue. If you’ve noticed that it’s difficult to hear conversations in a noisy atmosphere, or you feel the need to adjust your television volume much higher than before, it’s vital for you to have your hearing checked.

At Palm Beach Hearing Associates, they want to help you hear better and reconnect with your world. They provide excellent care and leading-edge technology at the following locations — Palm Beach Gardens, serving: Jupiter, Palm Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Stuart, Tequesta, and our Boynton Beach, serving: Lake Worth, Delray Beach, Lantana, Boca Raton, Greenacres, Atlantis, Wellington and Boynton Beach.

Palm Beach Hearing Associates
Palm Beach Gardens: (561) 500-3277
Boynton Beach: (561) 708-6246
Wellington: (561) 708-6247

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