By W.L. “Hunter” Huntley, III, HAS, BC-HIS

The month of June is recognized as National Alzheimer’s Awareness month.  However, most people would not associate this with hearing loss. The facts associating Alzheimer’s disease and hearing impairment is startling, to say the least!

Studies done by John’s Hopkins Medical University in association with The National Institution on Aging, determined that Alzheimer’s and dementia are linked to hearing loss.  In fact people with only a mild impairment were twice as likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s. Those with severe hearing problems were five times as likely to contract the aforementioned maladies than those with normal hearing.

This is due to the auditory cortex of the brain lacking proper stimulation, resulting in atrophy and loss of function.

Neurological stress is the primary link between Alzheimer’s and hearing loss, and can expedite the process.  Hearing Loss may also cause some individuals experiencing hearing problems to avoid social situations they once enjoyed so they don’t have to strain.  This often leads to social isolation and depression.

Frank Lin, assistant professor in the division of Otology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Noted: “If you are out to dinner with friends in a busy restaurant and it’s very loud, by the time you get home you are exhausted, because you spend so much time trying to think about the words people are saying to decipher everything.”

One of the reasons people with hearing loss experience memory loss is because may do not take the appropriate actions to treat the issue.

According to Sergei Kochin, the executive director of the Better Hearing Institute, hearing aids can help manage symptoms of Alzheimers because the brain isn’t required to work as hard to understand speech on a daily basis.

A leading author, Jonathon Peelle, PHD, and research associate in the Department of Neurology from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania stated “As hearing declines with age, interventions such as hearing aids should be considered, not only to improve hearing, but to preserve the brain.”

Although the research was conducted on older adults, the findings also have implications for younger adults including those concerned about listening to music at loud volumes. “Your hearing ability directly affects how the brain processes sounds, including speech”, stated Dr. Peelle. “Preserving your hearing doesn’t only protect your ears, but also helps your brain perform at its best.”

If your or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, there is no better time to have it checked than now!  Call 997-8288 to set-up a FREE hearing checkup.

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