November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia that people experience. This degenerative brain disease affects people’s memories, and people with Alzheimer’s typically have difficulty remembering information that they have relatively recently learned. Alzheimer’s disease commonly affects those who are 65 years old and older. As often happens with cognitive disorders, the signs and symptoms of the Alzheimer’s frequently worsen and become more intense the older people get. It is important to note that Alzheimer’s can affect younger people as well. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association reports that signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s affect approximately 200,000 people under 65 in the United States.

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

No matter their age, Alzheimer’s patients can experience increasingly difficult bouts of disorientation and lots of confusion surrounding events that are happening around them, and this is especially true as the disease progresses. Additionally, the effects of Alzheimer’s disease touches everybody around the patient. As the disease progresses, it can have quite devastating effects on people’s moods and cause extreme behavioral changes. Some of the common feelings that people with Alzheimer’s disease experience is a sense of suspicion and paranoia about those around them, including friends, loved ones, and coworkers.

Studies on Alzheimer’s Disease

While studying the cognitive issues of Alzheimer’s scientists have also been examining the connections between the disease and other bodily health issues such as vascular conditions, stroke, and blood pressure, as well as the links between the disease and diabetes and obesity. There also appears to be a relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and hearing loss.

A 2011 study conducted at Johns Hopkins tracked almost 2,000 older people around the age of 77 years old to understand how hearing loss and cognitive decline may be connected. They tracked these people for 12 years, and some of them for 18 years. Scientists were particularly interested in those who developed Alzheimer’s over this time period, spending time understanding how quickly the disease progressed amongst their subjects. Researchers found a relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline, where “people with hearing loss were 24% more likely to have Alzheimer’s.” Elsewhere they note that “the worse the hearing loss was, the more likely the person was to develop dementia.”

The links between hearing loss and cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s are perhaps unsurprising. Researchers generally agree that when a person is experiencing hearing loss, their brain does a lot of work in order to compensate for the loss—and the areas of your brain that are devoted to other senses such as bodily orientation and memory are reorganized (and diminished) to allow your brain to deal with your hearing loss. There have been other studies investigating the relationships between hearing loss and cognitive decline.

For another study, researchers at Johns Hopkins published their work in JAMA Internal Medicine, where they wrote that people with hearing loss experience declines in thinking skills more quickly than among people who are not experiencing hearing loss. For six years, the researchers worked with nearly 2,000 volunteers who were 70 years old and older. They found that those with hearing loss scored less on a test that they gave to assess cognitive impairment, a test that is called the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination. They found that people with normal hearing would take only 7.7 years to significantly decline on the exam, whereas it would take people with normal hearing loss nearly 10 years. In other words, their results found that older adults experiencing untreated hearing loss are at a far greater risk for developing a whole host of cognitive issues.

Seeking Treatment for Hearing Loss

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s but there are ways to protect one’s hearing to ensure greater mental health in the long run. Paying close attention to the signs of Alzheimer’s in your own life and in the life of your loved ones is a good first step. These signs can include bouts of memory loss that interrupt daily life, difficulty planning events or solving problems, and an increasing difficulty (if not inability) to complete otherwise familiar tasks.

Practicing healthy hearing habits begins with establishing a relationship with hearing health professionals. With the help of our team at Exceptional Hearing Care, you can protect your hearing, that of your loved ones, and ensure the best cognitive health possible.

Traveling with Hearing Loss: Tips on Navigating Airports

Traveling with Hearing Loss: Tips on Navigating Airports

Traveling can be stressful in and of itself, but traveling with hearing loss adds further challenges. Airport announcements are generally made over a loudspeaker, and even slight hearing loss can impact your ability to hear that gate change. The good news is there are steps that you can take as a passenger and even laws…

Protecting Your Child’s Hearing at School

Protecting Your Child’s Hearing at School

Has your child come home from school complaining about a ringing or buzzing in their ears? Do they seem to be absent minded, not paying attention, or struggling to hear you? You might think your child’s school is a safe place, but when it comes to hearing health, their school might be doing a lot…

Hearing Aids & Headphones

Hearing Aids & Headphones

Hearing aids change a lot about your life, almost entirely for the best. They help bring clarity to speech and sound and they can help you stay socially engaged with your friends, family, and the activities you love most. Using hearing aids can also help improve your mental and physical wellbeing and eases the cognitive…

Data Shows Increase in Hearing Loss in Oil and Gas Drilling Sector

Data Shows Increase in Hearing Loss in Oil and Gas Drilling Sector

New data coming British Columbia has shown a dramatic uptick in hearing loss among workers in the oil and gas sector. This new data comes in alongside reports that hearing protection is being used more than ever before. What does it mean? Analysts believe that current hearing protection isn’t being consistently used properly, and better…

September Is World Alzheimer’s Month

September Is World Alzheimer’s Month

This month, Alzheimer’s Disease International sponsors a month of awareness and care to help promote education, research and healthcare for people affected by dementia. In the U.S. it is estimated that 5.7 million people struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, which affects memory and cognition and severely limits a person’s ability to navigate daily life. World Alzheimer’s…

Dealing with Noise Pollution in Your Neighborhood

Dealing with Noise Pollution in Your Neighborhood

Bang! Crash! Slam! Honk! Screech! Does this sound like the world outside your window? If so, you’re not alone. More and more unchecked noise, denser populations and increasing traffic are making noise pollution an unavoidable fact of modern life. Trains, planes and automobiles all contribute to an urban ruckus while pumped up televisions, stereos and…

The Connection Between Stress and Hearing Loss

The Connection Between Stress and Hearing Loss

While we all probably wish we could live a life free from stress, it actually plays a very important role in the survival of most species, including humans. When necessary, stress actually has the potential to save our lives. In an intense situation, stress is what gives us that extra energy to escape or increases…

Healthy Habits for Tinnitus Relief

Healthy Habits for Tinnitus Relief

Chronic tinnitus can be a real bummer. A sustained ringing or unrelenting noise can make concentration difficult, cause stress, frustration and even despair. At its worst, tinnitus can make life extremely challenging, impacting our desire to work and our ability to sleep. With no known cure, overcoming persistent tinnitus can feel daunting, but relief is…