Alzheimer’s disease is a brain condition that impacts areas which control thought, memory, emotion and language. Globally, two out of three people believe there is little to no understanding of dementia in their countries. Alzheimer’s and dementia are projected to impact 152 million people world-wide by 2050. Each year in September, there is an international effort to raise world-wide awareness of Alzheimer’s, including the most common form which is dementia.
Why does our team at Ear-Tronics want you to be aware of Alzheimer’s disease? Because untreated hearing loss can lead to early on-set dementia – and we want you to be aware that untreated hearing loss can be treated! Study after study links untreated hearing loss with early on-set dementia as well as a host of other physical and emotional issues. Ear-Tronics has been helping people stay on the path to better hearing since 1975. Don’t put off that hearing evaluation any longer.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Aging
Other factors including rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, smoking and obesity as well as untreated hearing loss can put you at a higher risk of getting Alzheimer’s. Each of these factors increases your risk of getting dementia three to six times more than someone who doesn’t have these conditions. All the more reason to stay healthy and include getting a hearing evaluation in that plan!
Many people think Alzheimer’s means you forget things. It more serious than occasionally forgetting where you put your keys.
Memory loss is an early indicator – but so is difficulty finding the right words, problems understanding what people are saying, not being able to perform what were previously routine tasks as well as personality and mood changes. People with Alzheimer’s also experience getting lost in familiar places, have trouble handling cash and paying bills, repeat the same questions over and over in a very short time, place items in odd places and confusion time and events. Personality changes including paranoia and distrust of family members as well as caregivers can occur. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, the ability to function in any sort of environment decreases.
Cognition and Untreated Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a fact of life for 48 million Americans and as you get older, the chances of experiencing hearing loss increase. Too often adults wait – sometimes up to seven years – before hearing loss is treated. Studies show there probably already is some cognitive decline issues, but some function can return with the use of hearing devices. Waiting longer means less likelihood of function return as well as more likely you may experience early on-set dementia.
The brain as a use it or lose it sort of organ. Social interaction, driving, shopping, hiking and – just walking – are great brain exercises because you are experiencing the world around you. At home, baking, doing the crossword puzzle, reading, even watching game shows, all help keep you sharp.
Untreated hearing loss causes your brain to struggle with decoding sounds and conversations repeatedly. 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 the same thing – other cognitive abilities are reduced.
Many people with hearing loss withdraw from outside activities, which are a source of brain stimulation, because it is embarrassing to not be able to hear all parts of a conversation and respond correctly. Those with untreated hearing loss withdraw from their friends and social circles. This leads to depression and depression has long been recognized as a factor that can lead to cognitive decline and dementia.
Calling Ear-Tronics to get a hearing evaluation is a positive step towards your continued well-being. If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing, it is imperative to seek treatment and schedule a hearing test. Contact us today to learn more!