September is World Alzheimer’s Month

September is World Alzheimer’s Month

In Dementia & Alzheimer's by Dr. Marcus Kolmetz

Dr. Marcus Kolmetz
Latest posts by Dr. Marcus Kolmetz (see all)

Alzheimer’s disease impacts areas of the brain which control thought, memory, emotion and language. It is the most common form of dementia, a nonreversible decline in mental function, accounting for between 60 and 80% of the diagnosed cases. Globally, two out of three people believe there is little to no understanding of dementia in their countries even though Alzheimer’s and dementia are projected to impact 152 million people world-wide by 2050.

In September, each year there is an international effort to raise world-wide awareness of Alzheimer’s. There is more research needed, more understanding of how the disease progresses and more people needing to pay attention to their health and the triggers that lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

So why are we talking about Alzheimer’s disease on the Audiology Consultants blog? Because the factors that put you at risk for Alzheimer’s include arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, obesity and – untreated hearing loss. We want to pay more attention to Alzheimer’s disease so you narrow your risks and call Audiology Consultants today and schedule a hearing evaluation.

Alzheimer’s, Aging and Hearing Loss

Early signs of Alzheimer’s are a little more serious than occasionally forgetting where you put your keys. They do include memory loss, but also difficulty finding the right words and the names of everyday objects, problems understanding what people are saying, not being able to perform what were previously routine tasks as well as personality and mood changes.

Some other early indicators 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 occur, including paranoia and distrust of family members or caregivers.

Alzheimer’s robs individuals of the ability to function in any sort of environment decreases. Hearing loss is a fact of life for 48 million Americans and as you get older, the chances of experiencing hearing loss increase. Dr. Frank Lin, an otologist and epidemiologist with Johns Hopkins University, studied cognitive decline and hearing loss. The results of several studies are data that showed aggressively treating hearing loss can stave off cognitive decline and dementia. This means seeking immediate treatment, if you or those around you notice you are experiencing hearing loss. Too often adults wait, many times for years, before hearing loss is treated. Studies show there is already some cognitive decline issues.

Hearing Loss and the Brain

Social interaction, utilizing your brain outside the home for driving, shopping, hiking and – just walking are all great things to keep your brain occupied. Baking, doing the crossword puzzle, reading all help keep you sharp. But having to work just one part of your brain too hard is not a good thing. Untreated hearing loss causes your brain to repeatedly struggle with decoding sounds and conversations. 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 – something has to give and its other cognitive functions. Brain imaging studies of seniors with untreated hearing loss shows less gray matter in some parts of the brain. The conclusion by those who studied the data was that the brain didn’t change, but certain brain cells that were no longer being used because of lack of stimulation had started to shrink.

Positive Results with Hearing Aids

You can treat your hearing loss and help keep Alzheimer’s at bay with any one of the dozens of kinds of hearing aids and at Audiology Consultants, we are here to help you find the best solution for your hearing loss. During the hearing evaluation we make sure we understand what your expectations are concerning your new hearing aids and where you might be experiencing hearing difficulties.
Hearing aid wearers report a better all-around quality of life when they use hearing aids and their family and friends notice, too!

Audiology Consultants

There’s an awful lot of information out there about hearing aids, different models, different technology and we can help you sort through all that at Audiology Consultants. Hearing is vital to living life to the fullest, don’t give up on one of your crucial senses and also put yourself at a greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease.