Hearing Loss and Alzheimer’s Disease

by | Oct 31, 2013 | news

Hearing Loss and Alzheimer’s Disease

For those who are dealing with the effects of getting older, hearing loss is one of the easiest things to manage, though it is one of the last things that older adults consider getting under control. But studies have proven time and again how hearing loss can affect a person’s memory and cognitive functioning. And for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, their hearing becomes especially important, as it is one of the main tools they need to be able to process information.

Hearing Loss Makes Alzheimer’s Worse

Alzheimer’s Disease causes degeneration in the neural structures of the brain that affect a person’s ability to process the information they hear. Advanced stages of the disease can affect a person’s ability to understand spoken language. A senior person with untreated hearing loss doesn’t get the necessary incoming sound information needed for normal auditory processing to take place.

Hearing Aids Help Patients With Alzheimer’s

New research has shown that large numbers of patients with mild hearing impairment who also have dementia have improved cognitive functioning when their hearing is improved with hearing aids. Most Alzheimer’s patients don’t object to wearing hearing aids, and being able to hear better gives them a better opportunity to process information.

Hearing Aids Improve Memory Function

Research has shown that even those people who have hearing loss but don’t have dementia do better on memory-related tests once their hearing is improved with hearing aids.

Hearing Loss Mimics Alzheimer’s

Given that the symptoms of hearing loss mimic those of dementia, such as confusion, social isolation and depression, it is important to get regular hearing tests, and appropriate hearing aids, so any diagnosis of hearing loss or dementia can be made accurately, and so that the ability to continue to process information is not compromised.

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Dr. Ana Anzola, CCC-A, FAAA, ABA Principal

Dr. Anzola received her Doctorate degree in Audiology (AuD) from the Arizona School of Health Sciences, and her Master’s Degree in Audiology and her Bachelor's Degree in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from Towson University. She has been a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) since 1995, board-certified by the American Board of Audiology (ABA), and certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

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