Senior Living: Hearing aids can slow mental decline
Hearing loss can create a variety of everyday problems for seniors who live alone at home. For some individuals, hearing loss could progress to a stage which makes self care at home not possible. In these cases, a move to a senior living community can provide a safe and comfortable long term care solution.
How is hearing loss defined?
Hearing loss is a condition in which the patient has only partial hearing - people can only hear some of the speech and sound around them. If an individual can not hear anything, they are considered to be deaf. Deafness and hearing loss can occur for people in all age groups. However, this condition is quite prominent with age and nearly two thirds of adults over the age 70 suffer from hearing loss. Various reasons can cause hearing loss and it can be either temporary or permanent. Depending on the type of the condition, treatment varies. However, hearing loss prevails in large numbers among the elderly population and it remains vastly undertreated.
Hearing loss has a significant role in cognitive impairment
Recent studies have identified that hearing loss has a significant role in cognitive impairment. Because of the aging of the world population, the prevalence of dementia is predicted to double every two decades. Due to the vast majority of the population that is affected, finding causes and understanding the mechanistic pathways that can cause decline in brain function and dementia in elders is one of the priorities of public health. A fair amount of studies have been conducted on identifying the relationship of partial hearing or hearing loss and how it affects the cognitive function of individuals. Some studies state that hearing loss is independently associated with poor cognitive functioning, stating that the effect of cognitive load due to loss of hearing as well as reduction in social interaction as a result of reduced hearing as reasons. Identifying whether poor hearing has an impact is just as important as understanding whether remedying the reduction in hearing can have a positive impact on the brain.
The relationship of hearing loss with cognitive trajectories
On such study designed to investigate the relationship of hearing loss with cognitive trajectories over a period of six years was conducted on 1984 adults with a mean age of 77.4 years. These individuals showed no signs of cognitive decline at the start and standardized audiometric and cognitive tests were conducted to obtain accurate results. From the results it was found that those who had hearing loss had cognitive decline rates that were much higher than the individuals with normal hearing. To be specific, individuals with hearing loss scored 41% and 32% higher in two tests that measures cognitive decline. The study concluded that “hearing loss is independently associated with accelerated cognitive decline and incident cognitive impairment in community-dwelling older adults”.
Using hearing aids can significantly reduce the effect of declining brain function
Further studies conducted on this field shows that using hearing aids can significantly reduce the effect of declining brain function. However, despite the huge population that suffers from reduced hearing, 3 out of 5 adults do not wear hearing aids. Therefore it is important to be aware of the subsequent conditions that can emerge from reduced hearing and take necessary steps to obtain devices such as hearing aids with the help of family members or physicians. Being aware of the causes and taking the necessary steps and precautions can significantly help avoid difficult health conditions such as dementia.
Consider Our Senior Living Community in Los Angeles
Hearing loss is a natural consideration for the care programs in senior living communities. If you have an elderly family member who is experiencing hearing loss which makes living alone difficult, please consider touring our senior living community in Los Angeles, or contact us for more information.
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