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Hearing Aid For Alzheimer’s Patients

Cognition And Hearing Aids

Doctors finding connection between hearing loss, dementia

Hearing aid use has been associated with better cognitive performance independentof effects hearing aids may have on confounders such as social isolation or depression.23 In the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, a cross-sectional associationexists between reduced cognition and hearing loss in people who do not usehearing aids, while the association is not apparent in hearing aidusers.24,25 However, as there is limited longitudinal researchregarding cognitive benefits of hearing aids, the evidence for this remainsinconclusive.23,2628 The use ofhearing aids has been associated with improved quality of life and reductions insocial isolation and depression in older adults,29 experiences which people with dementia are at elevated risk forexperiencing.30,31

Hearing Aids May Reduce Your Risk Of Cognitive Decline

Numerous studies show that hearing aids not only improve a persons hearingthey also help preserve a persons independence, mental abilities, emotional and physical health, and work, home, and social lives. A full, happy life keeps your brain active.

Early identification and treatment of a potential hearing loss helps minimize risks later in life.

Wondering what a hearing test is like? Find out what to expect here.

Tips For Patients Suffering From Hearing Loss

If you are suffering from hearing loss or even have symptoms of hearing loss, here are a few things you can follow-

  • Get correctly diagnosed. A diagnosis will determine if you have hearing problems or not, and if you do, what stage it is .
  • Determine what type of hearing aid you need. After you get diagnosed with hearing loss, consult with your doctor and determine what type of hearing aid best suits you. There are many types to choose from: BTE, ITE, CIC, and so forth.
  • Invest in a quality hearing aid. Remember that not only can these hearing aids make your life easier, they can also reduce the risk of cognitive impairment.
  • Use your hearing aid regularly. We have already explained in the article how crucial using hearing aids regularly is to reduce risks of cognitive impairment.
  • Get your ear and hearing aid tested around every six months. Take hearing tests to determine the condition of your hearing abilities.
  • Practice healthy habits. A healthy lifestyle can help you navigate through life easier and better.
  • Dementia and hearing loss are two closely related health problems that can be addressed with hearing aids. Discover most effective hearing aids for dementia patients.

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    Reducing The Risk Of Alzheimers Disease

    Believe it or not, a simple pair of hearing aids may reduce the risk of Alzheimerâs Disease. Treating hearing loss combats social isolation, improves quality of life, and lets you get back to participating in cognitively stimulating activities like dinner with the family. All those things you avoided doing when you couldnât hear, like meeting friends for a drink or enjoying a movie at the cinema, activate your brain and provide a mental work-out. Not only that, but when you get a hearing device, areas of your brain that havenât been active in a while get used again, and rather than cognitive decline, youâll be using more of your brain than ever. With hearing aids youâll exercise more parts of your brain, and fight Alzheimerâs Disease.

    Unfortunately, this memory-robbing disease affects almost half of all American families. If you believe you or a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss, schedule a hearing test with us at Greentree Audiology.

    We recommend annual hearing exams for anyone over the age of 55, since early treatment is the key to having an active mind, and preventing Alzheimerâs Disease. Visit us today at Greentree Audiology, a top-rated hearing aid provider in St. Louis,to learn more about Alzheimerâs and to find the hearing device thatâs right for you.

    Hearing Loss And The Dementia Connection

    Hearing aids slow dementia by

    Hearing loss doesnt just mean an older adult needs to turn up the TV. Its been linked to a range of health problems, including dementia.

    The latest aging research not only shows the two are connected, its also leading scientists to believe that hearing loss may actually be a cause of dementia.

    This emerging area of research has huge implications, says Frank Lin, MD, PhD 08, director of theCochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health at the Bloomberg School. Some 37.5 million Americans have trouble hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

    A key question researchers have: Could hearing aids reduce the risk of a person developing dementia?

    Lin explains the connection between the two conditions and where the science is headed.

    Hearing loss and the brain

    If you have hearing loss, you have a greater chance of developing dementia, according to a2020 Lancet commission report that lists hearing loss as one of the top risk factors for dementia.

    Brain strain and social isolation

    Quantifying hearing losss impact

    Hearing loss is estimated to account for8% of dementia cases. This means that hearing loss may be responsible for 800,000 of the nearly 10 million new cases of dementia diagnosed each year.

    Reducing the risk of dementia

    Other effects on health

    Read Also: Who Is More Likely To Get Alzheimer’s

    My Recommendation On Hearing Device For Those Who Have Advance Dementia

    If you havent yet purchased a traditional hearing aid but are looking on behalf of someone who has dementia or Alzheimers, then I would recommend something completely different than a traditional hearing aid.

    I would recommend what I consider to be a pocket talker. It is a simple handheld device that can be clipped onto a shirt and then has regular large headphones that go up to the ear canal.

    I have seen this device used very successfully with many patients. The advantages are that it is a simple device that doesnt require a lot of new teaching to be done. It turns on and off and has a volume wheel. The patients usually can get headphones onto their ears easily as they likely learned how to put headphones on decades ago.

    Pros

    • Do not get lost easily
    • Easy for caregivers to know that it is working
    • Very little maintenance requirements
    • Battery are a AAA and do not require frequent battery changes
    • Person can easily adjust to their preferred volume level
    • Inexpensive when compared to what a traditional hearing aid cost.

    There are also disadvantages to this type of device. It does not have directional microphones nor background noise reduction like a traditional hearing aid. Usually a person with advanced dementia or Alzheimers is does not have an active lifestyle and the person they want to communicate with is directly in front of them. This device is perfect for that situation.

    What An Audiologist Should Do For Seniors

    An audiologist is a health-care professional trained to diagnose and treat hearing problems.

    They need to look at your older adults specific type of hearing loss and consider all their hearing needs.

    If a complete evaluation doesnt happen, your older adult might not be able to hear, even with hearing aids.

    Two assessments are needed:

  • A comprehensive hearing assessment
  • A communication needs assessment that considers their lifestyle
  • In the communication needs assessment, the audiologist finds out if your older adult has any trouble in 4 different methods of communication. Thats needed because different hearing technologies are available to help with different situations.

    Needs in 4 methods of communication:

  • Face-to-face communication For most people, its important to be able to communicate one-on-one and in groups. Assistive listening devices, like microphone systems that can be used at home or in public areas, plus hearing aids work well for these situations.
  • Media Does your older adult frequently watch TV, use a tablet, go to movie theaters, etc? New technology can work with hearing aids or earphones. For example, TV audio can be sent directly to the hearing aids.
  • Telecommunications Your older adult will most likely need to communicate on the phone. Some hearing aids can get audio directly from a mobile phone. Captioned phone systems are also a good option.
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    How To Get Better Care From The Audiologist

    Not all audiologists do everything they should, so you might need to advocate for your older adult.

    The best way is to give the audiologist a clear picture of all of their needs. Make a grid of the four communication needs: face-to-face, media, telecommunications, and alerts.

    The information in the grid helps the audiologist determine what types of hearing technology will work best for your older adults lifestyle.

    In the grid:

  • Write the four needs along the top
  • Down the side, list all the places where your older adult needs to be able to hear: home, in the car, social gatherings, restaurants, grocery stores, etc
  • For each need, ask how well theyre able to hear in each place. For example, you older adult might have trouble talking with someone face-to-face at a noisy restaurant or hearing other cars honking when theyre driving. However, they might be able to hear pretty clearly when having a one-on-one conversation at home.
  • After your older adult gets their hearing aids, their audiologist should test them to make sure they work well.

    The hearing aids should be adjusted and checked using real ear measurement. Thats when a small microphone is placed next to the eardrum to test whether the hearing aid gives enough amplification for soft, medium, and loud sounds.

    Hearing Aid Alternatives For Those With Dementia

    Can hearing aids prevent memory loss?

    Hearing loss is associated with a 30-40% rate of accelerated cognitive decline, but only 20% of people who experience hearing loss actually seek treatment.1 Resistance to seeking hearing aids as a treatment can include high costs, social stigma and perceived lack of efficacy of hearing aids.2 Recent studies suggest that correcting hearing loss is positively correlated with cognitive improvement and prevention of social isolation.3,4

    Also Check: Does Stress Cause Alzheimer’s Disease

    Choosing The Right Hearing Aids

    Hearing aids are the most common form of treatment for mild to moderately severe hearing losses. Hearing aids come in a range of styles, brands, and technology levels. Ranging from very basic manual devices to more advanced automatic devices.

    Hearing aids work to improve the overall quality of life by reducing listening effort and increasing social participation. The success of hearing aids requires both a highly motivated patient and an understanding of Audiologist.

    Many patients with Alzheimers disease attend the clinic with a family member or friend for support, which is highly encouraged. At a hearing aid discussion appointment the patient is asked to list the environments that they might attend daily, weekly, and monthly. This allows the audiologist an insight into which level of technology might be most suitable for the patients needs.

    For example, a patient attending tennis twice a week, book club once a week, and having lunch in a café or restaurant every second day might require the best hearing aids available to thrive in these harder listening environments. Whilst a patient with a more sedentary lifestyle might only require devices more basic in their performance.

    What Are The Best Hearing Aids For Dementia

    For patients living with both dementia, hearing loss should never be ignored, as it may exacerbate dementia symptoms, increase their disorientation and make their environment less safe .

    While there are no hearing products made specifically for dementia patients, there are plenty of devices out there that can still be helpful. They range from the relatively simple, such as a wearable microphone to premium hearing aids.

    Hearing loss makes living with diseases like Alzheimer’s even more challenging. For people currently affected by dementia, hearing aids or other hearing devices are recommended to improve their quality of life and make communication easier.

    If you are the caretaker of someone with Alzheimer’s or a similar disease that affects cognition, you are wise to investigate what hearing devices might work best. A hearing care provider will be your ally in this journey, as they’ll know the latest products that may work for your loved one. You’ll also be able to discuss your loved one’s specific needs, habits and abilities with the hearing care specialist.

    For example, hearing aids may not always be the best solution. Most premium hearing aids are designed to be discreet, so they may be too small and too easy to lose for a patient with dementia, especially if they have dexterity problems. Hearing aids also require that a person remember to keep the batteries fresh and the device clean and in good working condition. Instead, assistive listening devices may work better.

    Read Also: How To Talk To Someone With Vascular Dementia

    S To Take If Youre Struggling With Hearing Loss

    If you often ask, What? or struggle to keep up with dialogue, consider it a problem and seek help.

    Make an appointment with an audiologist who will help to determine why youre not hearing well. It may be related to an illness or even a prescribed medication.

    Complete all necessary tests and follow the doctors orders.

    If a doctor diagnoses hearing loss, or expects it to worsen, dont get stuck in the mire of denial.

    An act as simple as wearing a tiny hearing aid can not only help with your hearing loss, but potentially combat dementia symptoms and thwart brain atrophy. Consistently wear your hearing aids as prescribed.

    Note: Alzheimers News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Alzheimers News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimers disease.

    Problems With Diagnosis Of Sight Loss

    New study finds wearing hearing aid could also help protect the brain ...

    If the person has sight loss, it can make diagnosing dementia more difficult. They may have difficulties with some of the questions they are asked in the assessment, or their sight loss may mask the difficulties they are having.

    It is often assumed that if a person has dementia they wont be able to manage a sight test, but this is not true. There are things that can help such as allowing more time, adapting the tests and someone going with them.

    It may also be assumed that any problems the person is having are because of their dementia, and people may not think to check their sight.

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    Interventions For Hearing And Vision Impairment To Improve Outcomes For People With Dementia: A Scoping Review

    Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 September 2018

    Piers Dawes*
    Affiliation:Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness, School of Health Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UKManchester Academic Health Sciences Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
    Lucas Wolski
    Catholic University of Applied Sciences Freiburg, Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
    Ines Himmelsbach
    Catholic University of Applied Sciences Freiburg, Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
    Jemma Regan
    Affiliation:Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, UKDepartment of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
    Iracema Leroi
    Affiliation:Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, UKDepartment of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
    *
    Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. Piers Dawes, Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness ,

    If You Need Help With Hearing Loss

    If you’re noticing trouble hearing in yourself or a loved one, don’t delayprompt treatment can help you or your loved one stay engaged in the world and avoid social isolation, a common problem for people with untreated hearing loss. Hearing loss is exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be. To find a hearing care professional, see our directory of consumer-reviewed hearing clinics to find a hearing specialist or audiologist near you.

    Also Check: What Are The Signs Of Alzheimer’s Disease

    Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication Systems

    DECT Systems for correcting hearing loss are a relatively new category of assistive listening devices. Early evidence suggest these systems can increase engagement and mood by enabling clear communication between users.8,9,10 These types of systems use radio frequency to communicate from one sound source to many listeners. The system uses a base which constantly transmits a beacon signal which can be received by a headset in the vicinity. Once these are synced, cordless communication is possible. DECT technology also allows for wireless communication, which increases flexibility and mobility for users. These devices have been shown to increase engagement, participation and mood for residents in assisted living and memory care.

    Why They Are Great Alternatives for Those with Dementia

    These types of systems are great for senior living communities because they can be used in both group and individual settings. Another advantage is that they tend to be better at reducing background noise and increasing focus, a common complaint among dementia sufferers. Furthermore, DECT systems are not limited by walls and have a longer range, which can be a way to engage bed-ridden individuals, particularly in music therapy and sundowning.

    How To Find An Audiologist Who Will Work Within A Budget

    Hearing aids and memory loss

    Before making an appointment with an audiologist, speak with them on the phone to make sure they can meet your older adults needs.

    Explain that youre looking for someone who can evaluate hearing needs and can recommend a variety of technologies at different price points.

    For example, an audiologist might suggest a hearing aid telecoil and a generic ALD as a budget-friendly solution instead of an expensive wireless hearing aid.

    You can also ask them to unbundle their billing. The audiologists service fees are listed separately from the hearing equipment. Seeing exactly what your older adult is paying for can save money.

    Also Check: Does Parkinson’s Disease Cause Dementia

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