Hearing Loss and Dementia Connection
Read about the latest large study that proves that hearing loss among older adults directly correlates to the development of dementia over time.
A new study published in January 2023 has further illuminated the connection between hearing loss and dementia in older adults. In addition, this study of over 2,400 participants proved that treating hearing loss can significantly reduce dementia risks. “The research, which began in 2011, showed that dementia was 61% more common among the participants with hearing loss.” With the application of hearing aids, that number was cut in half.
Exactly how hearing loss impacts the development of dementia is still under review. The Aging and Cognitive Health Evaluation in Elders Study, due to be published later this year, is expected to have answers. Ear Infection With Hearing Loss.
Hearing loss facts
- Approximately 2% of adults in the US ages 45-54 have moderate to severe hearing loss.
- From ages 55-64 the numbers increase to almost 9%.
A quarter of older adults, ages 65-74 have hearing loss that affects their daily lives.
- By age 75 or older, adults have a 50/50 chance of being disabled by hearing loss.
- Less than 30% of older adults use hearing aids, some prohibited by the cost, others by choice.
What to do for ear health?
Remind your primary care provider to perform an ear exam each visit.
This is an often-overlooked part of a provider visit. They can determine if there is severe wax build-up, signs of infection, or even a foreign object obstructing the ear canal.
If you have a history of excessive ear wax, ask your provider if over-the-counter remover drops are the best option for you. Ear wax is the body’s way of protecting the inner ear. Too much wax can cause temporary hearing loss.
A hearing exam, performed by an audiologist, may reveal the need for hearing aids.
If you are of Medicare age, please note the Medicare A & B benefits do not cover the costs of hearing exams or hearing aids. However, cochlear implants may be covered depending on the level of hearing loss.
Contact your Medicare Advantage provider if you have this elected benefit.
Certain Medicare Advantage providers cover up to 20% of the costs of hearing aids.
If the high cost of hearing aids is a barrier, ask the audiologist about getting hearing aids at Costco. This particular wholesale company buys in bulk and passes the deep savings of this pricey device to buying members.
If you have hearing aids, wear them!
They do take getting used to, and the benefits far outweigh the nuisance.
Use ear protection when you anticipate being around loud noises.
Power tools, engines, and loud music are all suspects in the fight against hearing loss. Even if you already have damaged hearing, protect what remains.
And finally, remember to never use cotton swabs or other sharp implements to clean the ear canal.
Ways to improve communication with hearing loss
In addition to taking care of your hearing health, it is important to find ways to improve communication with hearing loss. Here are some tips to help you communicate more effectively with others:
It is essential to prioritize ear health, and untreated Ear Infection With Hearing Loss can have a significant impact on overall health and wellbeing. This new study emphasizes the importance of treating hearing loss to reduce the risk of developing dementia in older adults. By taking proactive steps to care for your ears, including regular check-ups with your primary care provider and audiologist, using ear protection, and considering hearing aids, you can take control of your ear health and improve your quality of life.
Additionally, implementing communication strategies such as facing the person you’re speaking with, using visual aids, and practicing active listening can also help improve communication and overall hearing ability. Remember, it’s never too late to prioritize your ear health and take steps towards better hearing.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2023, January 17). New study links hearing loss with dementia in older adults. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/01/230117144421.htm
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. (n.d.). Quick statistics about hearing. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing
Delta Waters, RN writes content to support older adults in living their best lives.