In seniors who have loss of memory or diminished cognitive function, the inherent fear of Alzheimer’s disease runs rampant. However, the latest research suggests at least some of that worry might be unfounded and that these problems might be the consequences of a far more treatable condition.
According to a report that appeared in a Canadian medical journal, the symptoms that actually may be the consequences of untreated hearing loss are sometimes mistaken as the consequence of Alzheimer’s.
For the Canadian study, researchers closely analyzed participant’s functional capabilities pertaining to thought and memory and searched for any links to possible brain disorders. 56 percent of those assessed for cognitive impairment had minor to extreme loss of hearing. Surprisingly, a hearing aid was worn by only 20 percent of those.
These findings are backed up by patients who think they might have symptoms of Alzheimer’s according to a clinical neuropsychologist who authored the study. In some instances, it was a patient’s loved ones who recommended the visit to the doctor because they observed memory lapses or shortened attention.
The Line is Blurred Between Hearing Loss And Alzheimer’s
While loss of hearing might not be the first thing an older adult thinks of when faced with potential mental damage, it’s easy to understand how one can confuse it with Alzheimer’s.
Having your friend ask you for a favor is a situation that you can be easily imagined. For instance, they have an upcoming trip and are looking for a ride to the airport. What would happen if you didn’t hear their question clearly? Would you ask them to repeat themselves? Is there any way you would know that you were supposed to drive them if you didn’t hear them the second time?
It’s possible that some people could have misdiagnosed themselves with Alzheimer’s because of this type of thinking according to hearing specialists. Instead, it may very well be a persistent and progressive hearing problem. Simply put, you can’t remember something that you don’t hear in the first place.
Gradual Hearing Loss is Normal, But There Are Ways to Treat it
It’s not surprising that people of an advanced age are experiencing these problems given the correlation between aging and the likelihood of having hearing loss. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) states that only 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have debilitating loss of hearing. Meanwhile, that number goes up considerably for older age brackets, coming in at 8.5 percent for 55- to 64-year-olds; 25 percent for 65- to 74-year-olds; and 50 percent for those 75-years or older.
While it’s true that progressive hearing loss is a normal part of growing older, people commonly just accept it because they believe it’s a part of life. The truth is, the average time it takes for someone to get treatment for loss of hearing is about 10 years. Worse yet, less than 25 percent of people will actually purchase hearing aids even when they actually need them.
Do You Have Hearing Loss?
If you’ve thought about whether you have hearing loss extreme enough to need to be addressed like millions of other Americans, there are a number of revealing signs you should consider. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- Do I always need to increase the volume on the radio or television to hear them?
- If there is a lot of background sound, do I have a problem comprehending words?
- Do I regularly ask others to talk louder or slower?
- Is hearing consonants difficult?
- Do I stay away from social situations because having a conversation in a loud room is hard?
It’s important to note that while loss of hearing can be commonly confused with Alzheimer’s, science has shown a conclusive link between the two conditions. A Johns Hopkins study tested the mental abilities of 639 people who noted no cognitive impairments, then followed their progress and aging for 12 to 18 years. The research discovered that the people who experienced worse hearing at the onset of the study were more likely to get dementia, an umbrella term used to describe symptoms of diminished memory and thought.
Getting a hearing assessment is one way you can prevent any confusion between Alzheimer’s and loss of hearing. The current thought in the health care community is that this assessment should be a regular part of your annual physical, particularly for those who are over 65.
Have Any Questions About Hearing Loss?
We can help with a full hearing evaluation if you think there is a chance you could be confusing loss of hearing with Alzheimer’s. Schedule your appointment for an exam today.
Hearing aids, as with many other devices, are getting smarter, more inconspicuous and more stylish all the time, and just in time. The average American is older, reports The Us Census Department, as the population as a whole ages, and loss of hearing is, sadly, extremely common, particularly in older adults. Approximately 37.5 million American adults and rising say they have some amount of hearing loss.
The good news is hearing technology has had some exciting developments recently that will provide more solutions for treating hearing loss. Here are just a few of the innovations that are now available.
Your General Health Can be Tracked by Your Hearing Aids
Did you know that hearing aids can track several important vital signs as well or better than a fitness tracker? Not only can it track the time between heartbeats to help find potential cardiovascular concerns, but it also tracks calories burned, heart rate, step count, and the total number of steps taken. They’re also developing technology that can measure other important vital signs like blood pressure and oxygenation of the blood. There are other possible advantages that come with hearing aids, including the ability to help drown out tinnitus and will enhance your social life by bettering your general hearing. Actually, social engagement has been connected to your general health also, so actually it’s another health metric we should be following. Since hearing aids can now also sync with your smartphone so you can listen to your songs, who needs a smartwatch or fitness device?
Streaming Made Simpler And Smarter
Being connected to your virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa is becoming more important as people get more addicted to these features. Even if using these assistants is not your thing, Bluetooth hearing aids permit you to stream sound from any Bluetooth device such as your smart TV or phone. Just think of the advantages: You can avoid getting yelled at for having the Volume too loud while watching this year’s Big Game in a room full of loud friends. You will be capable of managing your loss of hearing more inconspicuously and also enjoy your music, phone calls, and shows more by having them directly in your ears.
Have you noticed that you get ads from Goodreads and they seem to already know what type of books you like to read? Or how Amazon seems to know which items to suggest? That’s because big data and artificial intelligence are very powerful. The latest hearing aids can also make changes automatically based on your reactions in the past. As an example, if you turned down the volume the last time you went to the train station, your hearing aid will remember that and turn itself down the next time you visit the train station. They are expanding this technology to include crowdsourcing as well, allowing information from other people to notify your hearing aids that you’re approaching a loud zone. Over time you can quickly adjust to changes in the hearing environment because your hearing aid will make recommendations based on all the information it has collected.
What? No More Little 312 Batteries?
Who wants to constantly struggle with hearing aid batteries? Rechargeable hearing aids are currently available. While you can do a lot to help increase the life of your hearing aids’ batteries, let’s face it…it’s still annoying and costly. What’s better, they are developing technology that will recharge hearing aids without even having to take them out of your ears.
You could be exposing yourself to shocking misinformation about tinnitus or other hearing issues without ever recognizing it. The Hearing Journal has recently published research supporting this. Allot more people suffer from tinnitus than you may think. Out of every 5 Us citizens one has tinnitus, so making sure people are given accurate, trustworthy information is important. The internet and social media, unfortunately, are full of this sort of misinformation according to new research.
How Can You Find Information About Tinnitus on Social Media?
If you’re looking into tinnitus, or you have become a member of a tinnitus support community online, you aren’t alone. A good place to find like minded people is on social media. But making sure information is displayed correctly is not well regulated. According to one study:
- 30% of YouTube video results contained misinformation
- Misinformation is contained in 44% of public facebook pages
- Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% included what was classified as misinformation
For individuals diagnosed with tinnitus, this amount of misinformation can provide a daunting challenge: Checking facts can be time-consuming and allot of the misinformation presented is, frankly, enticing. We simply want to believe it.
Tinnitus, What is it?
Tinnitus is a common medical condition in which the person suffering hears a buzzing or ringing in one’s ears. If this buzzing or ringing continues for longer than six months, it is called chronic tinnitus.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss, Common Misinformation
Social media and the internet, obviously, did not invent many of these myths and mistruths. But they do make spreading misinformation easier. You need to go over concerns you have about your tinnitus with a reputable hearing specialist.
Exposing some examples might show why this misinformation spreads and how it can be challenged:
- You will go deaf if you have tinnitus, and if you are deaf you already have tinnitus: It’s true that in certain cases tinnitus and loss of hearing can be connected, but such a link is not universal. Tinnitus can be caused by certain conditions which leave overall hearing intact.
- Loud noises are the only trigger of tinnitus: It’s really known and documented what the causes of tinnitus are. Many people, it’s true, suffer tinnitus as an immediate result of trauma to the ears, the results of particularly extreme or long-term loud noises. But traumatic brain damage, genetics, and other issues can also result in the development of tinnitus.
- Changes in diet will improve your hearing: It’s true that certain lifestyle issues may aggravate your tinnitus (for many drinking anything that has caffeine can make it worse, for example). And there may be some foods that can temporarily diminish symptoms. But there is no diet or lifestyle change that will “cure” tinnitus for good.
- There is a cure for tinnitus: One of the more common kinds of misinformation plays on the desires of those who suffer from tinnitus. Tinnitus has no miracle cure. There are, however, treatment options that can assist in maintaining a high quality of life and effectively manage your symptoms.
- Tinnitus isn’t helped by hearing aids: Because tinnitus is experienced as a select kind of buzzing or ringing in the ears, many people believe that hearing aids won’t be helpful. But newer hearing aids have been developed that can help you effectively regulate your tinnitus symptoms.
Correct Information Concerning Your Hearing Loss is Available
For both new tinnitus sufferers and those well accustomed to the symptoms it’s essential to stop the spread of misinformation. There are a few steps that people should take to attempt to protect themselves from misinformation:
- Look for sources: Try to find out where your information is coming from. Are there hearing specialists or medical experts involved? Do trustworthy sources document the information?
- If the information appears hard to believe, it probably isn’t true. You probably have a case of misinformation if a website or media post claims to have a miracle cure.
- A hearing expert or medical professional should be consulted. If you would like to see if the information is dependable, and you’ve tried everything else, run it by a respected hearing specialist.
The astrophysicist Carl Sagan once said something both simple and profound: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Not until social media platforms more carefully separate information from misinformation, sharp critical thinking techniques are your best defense against shocking misinformation concerning tinnitus and other hearing issues.
If you have read some information that you are uncertain of, set up an appointment with a hearing care specialist.
A phrase that gets frequently thrown around in context with getting older is “mental acuity”. Most health care or psychology specialists call it sharpness of the mind in layman’s terms, but there are a few aspects that play into the measurement of mental acuity. Memory, concentration and the ability to comprehend or understand are just a few of the areas that can play a role in a person’s mental acuity.
Besides mind altering illnesses like dementia, loss of hearing has also been established as a contributing component in mental decline.
Between Dementia And Your Hearing What is The Link?
In fact, Johns Hopkins University carried out one study which found a relationship between dementia, a decline in cognitive ability, and loss of hearing. A six year study of 2000 people between the ages of 75-85 concluded that there was a 30 to 40 percent quicker cognitive decline in people who had from loss of hearing.
Memory and concentration were two of the areas outlined by the study in which researchers noted a reduction in cognitive capabilities. And though loss of hearing is often regarded as a typical part of aging, one Johns Hopkins professor warned against downplaying its significance.
Problems From Impaired Hearing Beyond Loss of Memory
Not only memory loss but stress, periods of unhappiness, and depression are also more likely in those that have hearing loss according to another study. Hospitalization and injury from a fall were also found to be more likely in this study’s participants.
A study of 600 older adults in 2011 concluded that participants who didn’t suffer from loss of hearing were less likely to develop dementia than those who did have loss of hearing. Moreover, the study discovered a direct relationship between the severity of loss of hearing and the likelihood to develop a mind-weakening affliction. Symptoms of dementia were as much as five times more likely in people with more severe loss of hearing.
But the work undertaken by researchers at Johns Hopkins is hardly the first to stake a claim for the link between loss of hearing and a lack of mental aptitude.
A Link Between Mental Decline And Loss of Hearing is Supported by International Research
Published in 2014, a University of Utah study of 4,400 seniors discovered similar findings in that dementia will be developed more often and sooner by people who have loss of hearing than by people with average hearing.
One study in Italy took it a step further by analyzing two different causes of age-related hearing loss. People with normal hearing loss or peripheral hearing loss were less likely to develop mental disability than people with central hearing loss. This was determined after researchers studied both peripheral and central hearing loss. Typically, people struggle to understand words they hear if they have central hearing loss, which is caused by an inability to process sound.
In the Italian study, people with lower scores on speech comprehension assessments also had poorer scores on cognitive tests involving thought and memory.
Even though the exact reason for the link between loss of hearing and mental impairment is still unknown, researchers are confident in the connection.
How Can Hearing Loss Affect Mental Acuity?
However, researchers involved with the study in Italy do have a theory about the brain’s temporal cortex. When talking about that potential cause, the study’s lead author highlighted the importance of the brain’s superior temporal gyrus located above the ear, these ridges on the cerebral cortex are involved in the recognition of speech and words.
The theory suggests that age-related changes in the primary auditory cortex, which serves as a receiver of information prior to processing, alongside associated modifications to the memory areas of the temporal cortex, could be a conduit to a loss of neurons in the brain.
What to do if You Have Loss of Hearing
The Italians believe this form of mild cognitive impairment is related to a pre-clinical stage of dementia. In spite of that pre-clinical diagnosis, it’s most definitely something to be serious about And it’s shocking the amount of Americans who are in danger.
Out of all people, two of three have lost some ability to hear if they are older than 75, with a total of 48 million Americans suffering what is considered to be considerable loss of hearing. Even 14 percent of people between the ages of 45 and 64 are impacted by hearing loss.
Hearing aids can provide a significant improvement in hearing function mitigating risks for most people and that’s the good news. This is according to that lead author of the Italian study.
To see if you need hearing aids schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.
The American Lung Association has found that the average adult gets as many as four colds a year. Even though colds are normally minor viral infections, that’s still a lot. Whether the virus attacks the sinuses, throat or respiratory system, it can produce ear congestion, and ultimately, an ear infection.
Although many people think colds are harmless, there are certain symptoms you don’t want to dismiss. The connection between the common cold and ear infections has finally been verified by researchers. This is an important finding, because ear infections are a major contributing factor in the disturbing rise in antibiotic resistance.
You Should Never Ignore These Symptoms
Considering that your sinuses and ears are interconnected, it’s not uncommon to feel congested in your ears when you’re experiencing a cold. If you’re using a decongestant, and your head is draining fluids, this feeling usually comes and goes. But in just a few hours congestion can turn into an ear infection. This is the reason why you should always get expert help if you have any pain or unusual discharge in your ear.
Pain can be evidence of inflammation and infection and is a sign your cold is getting worse. If caught early, you can get a prescription for antibiotics and avoid permanent injury. If it’s dismissed, it can result in scarring on the eardrum and potentially injury to the cilia from inflammation.
How serious is this? Usually, cold related hearing loss is only temporary. However, permanent loss of hearing can result if the eardrum or cilia become injured and that can lead to other health issues.
Your Overall Health Can be Impacted by Hearing Loss
Loss of cognitive capacity, depression, more accidents, and other health concerns are connected to loss of hearing. An increase in healthcare costs has been linked with hearing loss by researchers recently. As a matter of fact, in only 10 years, untreated hearing loss can raise your healthcare costs by 46%.
Your probability of needing hospitalization with untreated hearing loss increases by 50%….and the probability of being readmitted also increases.
It adds up each time your ears take even minor injury. Even slight hearing loss can, Johns Hopkins found, double your probability of getting dementia. Think about the fact that each time you get an ear infection it can cause scarring that leads to considerable hearing loss over time.
Have You Had Ear Pain For Days?
Have you already ignored ear pain for days? It’s a common mistake, but seek treatment right away. There’s a reason the majority of health insurance companies consider ear pain or signs of an ear infection an emergency. If ear pain has occurred when you have a cold or after a cold schedule a hearing test. A professional exam can tell you whether:
- You have an ear infection right now
- there is any impact on your inner ear
- there is injury to the eardrum that needs to be addressed
A professional evaluation can also ensure that there are no obstructions in the ear that may cause irritation or temporary loss of hearing.
It’s a definite indication that you need to consult a professional if you have prolonged hearing loss or ear pain. Schedule an appointment right away.
Are you being kept awake by ringing in your ears? It’s not necessary. If you would like to get a better nights sleep, consider these tips to tone down this annoying unrelenting sound.
Moderate to severe tinnitus can really cause a problem with your sleep cycle. During the day, you’re preoccupied with noise and activity so your tinnitus might seem less noticeable. But tinnitus can seem louder and more stressful at night when it’s quiet.
Fortunately, there are several techniques you can use to fall asleep easier.
Five tips for falling asleep with tinnitus are presented below.
1. Don’t Fight The Noise
While this may seem difficult to impossible, paying attention to the noise actually makes it worse. If you begin to become aggravated, your blood pressure rises and this makes tinnitus symptoms worse. You will feel worse the more you dwell on it and your aggravation will get worse. You can make the sound fade away a little by thinking about something else and utilizing the following techniques.
2. Follow a Nighttime Routine
Developing healthy sleep habits like winding down at least a half hour before bed, dimming the lights and going to bed at the same time each night helps condition your body to feel sleepy at the right time. When you’re ready to fall asleep it will be less difficult.
Stress has also been connected to tinnitus. It also helps to develop habits to de-stress before bed.
- Listening to gentle sounds or relaxing music
- Focusing on thoughts that make you relaxed and happy
- At least a few hours before you go to bed, avoid eating
- reduce the heat in your bedroom
- At least an hour before bed time, dim the lights
- Doing deep breathing or a quick meditation
- Doing yoga and stretching
- Avoiding drinking alcohol
- Sitting in a quiet room and reading a book
Getting into a predictable schedule before bed helps you shift away from the stresses of the day into night and trains your body to transition into sleep.
3. Watch What You Eat
Artificial sweeteners and alcohol are well-known triggers for tinnitus. If you discover, after monitoring your diet and symptoms, that specific foods trigger or worsen your tinnitus, make it a practice to avoid them. Caffeine is also a trigger so at least avoid drinking it in the afternoon and evening.
4. The Common Causes of Tinnitus Should be Avoided
Ringing or other noises in your ears can be caused by many things. Dealing with the cause of tinnitus can help it get better or even prevent it altogether. Here are several things you can do to help:
- If you have underlying conditions such as high blood pressure, get help for it
- To determine whether one of your medications is triggering tinnitus symptoms ask your doctor
- If you suffer from anxiety or depression, get it treated
- Use ear protection
- Assess your lifestyle to identify whether you’re subjected to loud noises (and how to limit exposure)
- Don’t use earbuds…use headphones instead and keep the sound level low
- Schedule an appointment for your annual examination
If you can identify what’s causing the ringing in your ears, you may be able to manage it better.
5. Make an Appointment to See a Hearing Specialist
A professional hearing examination can help you find possible solutions as well as identify what might be causing your tinnitus. There are many ways hearing professionals can help you manage your tinnitus including:
- Scheduling a noise canceling hearing aid fitting
- Help you train your brain not to hear tinnitus by signing you up for therapy
- Suggesting cognitive behavioral therapy to deal with thought patterns revealed to make tinnitus worse
To speed up recovery and sleep better at night, seek professional help. To find out if you can get some help with your tinnitus, schedule your appointment with a hearing care expert.
Hearing loss is about pitch as much as about volume. If you find it hard to comprehend the speech of a woman or a child, but you can still, for the most part, understand the men in the room, you could have some degree of high-frequency hearing loss. You’re not alone…this is the most common form of hearing loss.
high-frequency Hearing Loss Warning Signs
With high-frequency hearing loss, consonant sounds that allow conversations to be understood, get muddled even though you may still be able to pick up on the volume of a woman or a child’s voice. Usually the hardest to differentiate are consonant sounds like ch, th, t, soft s, c, sh, k, f, and h. So, it may sound like a woman or child is mumbling, even though they aren’t. Comprehending a child’s joke or your loved ones question about dinner plans becomes very difficult because you have lost the ability to differentiate these sounds. This can result in frustration, depression and social isolation from your circle of family and friends.
Other sounds within the high-frequency hearing loss range (2000 Hz) are lost to people who have this problem. This includes high musical notes, birds chirping, and squeaks or sirens. Even at low volumes a man’s voice, thunder, and bass musical notes, might be relatively easy to discern.
Reasons For High-Frequency Hearing Loss
As the most typical type of hearing loss, high-frequency hearing loss can sneak up on people as they get older, frequently imperceptibly in the beginning. high-frequency hearing loss can be triggered by other things in addition to aging such as some medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, excessive noise exposure, and various medications.
The tiny hair-like sensors in the cochlea are harmed by all of these situations. It’s these little cells that receive sound input and send it to the brain for processing. The higher pitched sounds are usually the first to be tough to understand because the high-frequency cells become injured more easily than the lower pitched cells.
high-frequency Hearing Loss, How to Avoid it
Although you can’t stop your ears from growing older, there are several things you can do to prevent or at least slow down the advancement of high-frequency hearing loss. Including these:
- medication hearing protection in noisy environments.A definite indication that your ears could be getting damaged is if you need to yell to be heard in a loud environment. Heavy traffic, engines revving, power tool sounds, the loud stereo systems at movies or rock concerts are all examples of instances when popping in the ear-plugs is a smart idea. Noise canceling earphone might not fit inside your pocket, but they are the best solution in certain situations.
- Your health is important so take good care of it. Your hearing can be damaged by smoking. Your hearing can also be injured by poor health due to poor nutrition. Maintain your hearing by taking care of your general health.
- Looking for quiet things. Pick the quietest model by checking the noise rating of the appliances. If it’s difficult to hear your dinner companions, don’t be hesitant to ask the manager to turn down the music.
- Ask your doctor about medications you use. At least 200 different kinds of medications can cause or worsen high-frequency hearing loss. Even too much aspirin can injure your hearing. To find out if there are choices less likely to harm your hearing, consult your doctor. If you can’t avoid using a specific medication, stay in close contact with your hearing care professional for regular hearing loss and balance testing. Getting treatment for hearing loss early can help avoid further loss.
- Never utilizing a swab (or other small objects) to take out ear wax. This can push old ear wax into your ear canal and blunt your ability to hear. Carefully wash out excessive earwax with a cloth when you’re done showering, or ask your hearing professional about other ear irrigation techniques for getting rid of earwax without damaging your hearing.
high-frequency Hearing Loss Treatment
Hearing aids are presently the most efficient strategy for dealing with high-frequency hearing loss. And there are various designs to pick from since this is the most common type of hearing loss. Hearing aids can enhance high-pitched sounds so they are crisper to the listener. Many models can be configured and your hearing professional can help fine-tune them to improve your ability to hear those sounds at the correct level, immediately addressing the level and extent of the hearing loss. For circumstances like talking on the phone, listening to children, having dinner at a restaurant, or business meetings many hearing aids can be manipulated by your phone and have directional microphones for fine-tuning.
Schedule a hearing test if you suspect you might have high-frequency hearing loss. Chances are, there are individually-customized answers that can improve your ability to hear your grandchild’s precious one-liners.
Important insight into your state of health is provided by a hearing test. Hearing tests can potentially uncover other health concerns because the ears are so sensitive. What will you learn from a hearing exam?
What is a Hearing Exam?
Out of the various types of hearing tests, putting on earphones and listening to a series of tones is the basic exam. In order to discover the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing professional will play the tones at different pitches and volumes.
Another typical hearing test consists of listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make certain you are capable of interpreting sounds accurately. At times, this test is purposely done with background sound to find out whether that affects your hearing. To be able to get a proper measurement for each side, tests are performed on each ear individually.
What is The Significance of Hearing Test Results?
Whether a person has loss of hearing, and the extent of it, is what the standard hearing test identifies. Normal hearing in adults with minor hearing loss is 25 decibels or less. Using this test specialist can determine if the hearing loss is:
- Moderate to severe
The level of impairment is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
What Else do Hearing Tests Determine?
There are also test that can evaluate the viability of structures of the middle ear such as the eardrum, how clearly someone hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the kind of hearing loss.
Other health concerns can also be revealed by a hearing examination like:
- Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more susceptible to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Otosclerosis, which if caught early can possibly be reversed.
- Diabetes. Impaired blood vessels, like the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be harmed by too much sugar in the blood.
- Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
- Paget’s disease, which can cause severe headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
The insight from the hearing exam can be used by the expert to figure out if you have the following:
- Another medical problem causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
- Damage from exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
- Damage from trauma
- Age related hearing loss
- Abnormal bone growths
- Injury from chronic infections or disease
You can look for ways to safeguard your health and manage your loss of hearing once you understand why you have it.
The hearing expert will also examine the results of the examination to identify risk factors caused by your loss of hearing and create a preemptive strategy to decrease those risks.
What Are The Risks of Neglecting Hearing Loss?
Medical science is beginning to realize how hearing loss affects a person’s health and quality of life. Researchers from Johns Hopkins examined 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that those with loss of hearing have a greater risk of dementia. The more substantial the hearing loss, the greater the risk.
According to this study, someone with mild hearing loss has 2 times the risk of dementia. Three times the risk comes with moderate hearing loss and five times the risk with severe loss of hearing.
Also, social decline is evident in those with hearing loss. People who have difficulty hearing conversations will avoid having them. That can lead to more time alone and less time with friends and family.
A recent bout of exhaustion might also be explained by a hearing test. The brain works to translate sound, so you can comprehend what you hear. It has to work harder to perceive and interpret sound when there is hearing loss. That robs your other senses of energy and makes you feel tired all the time.
Finally, the National Council on Aging reports there is a clear correlation between hearing loss and depression, particularly age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can eliminate or minimize these risks, and a hearing test is the initial step for proper treatment.
An expert hearing test is a painless and comfortable way to determine a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?
Since the times when your great, great granddad used one of those ear trumpets to hear, things have changed. Even 10 years ago, hearing aids weren’t able to do the things they can do today. The innovation of hearing aid technology enables users to participate in activities that were unlikely at one point. Hearing aids can now do the following things.
1. Don’t Fall Out While Exercising
At one time, it would have been unheard of to ride a bike or jog with your hearing aids in place. When you are physically active, hearing aids can fall out and that even goes for high quality devices. Today whether you are an athlete or novice it is possible to exercise while wearing your hearing aids.
However, the evolution is not only in the technology. Hearing aids that fall out can still get damaged or lost. The straightforward principle of a hearing aid retention cord wins the day. It’s kind of like putting your hearing aids on a lanyard. They attach to the hearing aid and then clip to your clothes for safety. Hearing aid retention cords area smart option for kids, too.
2. Resist Water
Most hearing aids don’t do well when fully submerged despite the fact that they are water resistant. Waterproof hearing aids and some accessories will be needed if you want to swim with your hearing aid.
Begin with a raincoat for your hearing aids. Waterproof Sleeves fit tightly over the devices to protect them from water damage while still letting you hear. Most of the sleeves come with cords that attach to your clothing too, so you won’t lose the hearing aids while enjoying some summer fun.
A dehumidifier is an additional piece of equipment you may want to get. Some amount of water will get inside the case no matter what you do. The unit gets dried out by the dehumidifier without causing damage to the sensitive components.
3. Pair With Your Smartphone
No more having to remove your hearing aid when your phone rings. However, certain brands don’t have this feature. You want to invest in hearing aids that are Bluetooth-enabled or have the wireless streaming capability. This technology allows them to pair with your phone the same way Bluetooth earbuds or headphones do.
Interested in streaming a movie? Wireless comes in handy in this situation, as well. With Bluetooth or wireless, the hearing aids can pick up sound from your TV or MP3 player.
Most hearing aids have a telephone adaptation, also, that works for cell phones or landlines. Signals from your phone can be heard in your hearing aid thanks to a telecoil.
That’s correct, machine learning capabilities are available in many models. Some devices will make volume adjustments depending on the setting by remembering your preference and you don’t have to do anything.
You can also just press a button and load a particular setup stored in one of the numerous programs.
5. Make the Ringing Stop
Hearing loss and tinnitus go hand in hand for many people. Hearing aids which include tinnitus maskers or sound generators will play a low-level sound in the background that masks the ringing, so you hear sounds better. The masking noise cancels out the tinnitus, and that ringing stops. Not all brands include this tinnitus masking tech. If you are investing in hearing aids, and require this function, you will have to ask for it.
6. Store Data
A compelling new function in hearing aids is data logging. The devices log things such as when you use the hearing aids, times you make volume adjustments and what background sounds you encounter.
The benefit is your audiologist or hearing aid retailer can pull up this data to make essential modifications to the devices to improve their sound or give you information to go on when shopping for new hearing aids.
7. Go Remote
You can conveniently lower the volume, change the program, or use your hearing aid as a Bluetooth streaming device if you have a remote.
Not all of these features are new, but they all help you to do things with your hearing aids that were impossible years ago. Also, advancements in hearing aid technology are always being made. Be sure to check out the latest features when you’re purchasing a new hearing aid. Make an appointment with a hearing care professional to see them all.
The impact hearing loss has on general health has been examined for years. A new study takes a different approach by examining what untreated hearing loss can do to your healthcare spending. Individuals, as well as the medical community, are looking for methods to reduce the escalating costs of healthcare. You can reduce it significantly by something as simple as managing your hearing loss, according to a study published on november 8 2018.
How Hearing Loss Affects Health
There are hidden risks with untreated hearing loss, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers found that there was a significant effect on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:
- Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
- The risk of dementia is doubled in people with only minor hearing loss
- Dementia is five times more likely in someone suffering from severe hearing loss
The study shows that the brain atrophies at a faster rate when a person has hearing loss. The brain needs to work harder to do things like maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to injury.
Also, quality of life is affected. A person who doesn’t hear very well is more likely to feel anxiety and stress. They are also prone to have depression. Higher medical costs are the result of all of these factors.
The Newest Study
The newest study published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that it starts to be a budget breaker if you decide not to address your loss of hearing. This study was also led by experts from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.
77,000 to 150,000 patients with untreated hearing loss were analyzed. People with normal hearing created 26 percent less health care costs than people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
Over time, this amount continues to increase. Healthcare costs increase by 46 percent after 10 years. When you break those numbers down, they average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are associated with the increase are:
- Lower quality of life
- Cognitive decline
A connection between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is suggested by a second study done by the Bloomberg School. Some other findings from this study are:
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.6 more falls
Those stats correlate with the research by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is on the Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- About 2 percent of those at the ages of 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
- The simple act of hearing is difficult for about 15 percent of young people around the age of 18
- Loss of hearing currently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have hearing loss
For those aged 64 to 74 the number goes up to 25 percent and for individuals over 74 it goes up to 50 percent. Over time, those figures are anticipated to go up. As many as 38 million individuals in this country might have hearing loss by the year 2060.
The research doesn’t mention how wearing hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What they do understand is that wearing hearing aids can get rid of some of the health problems associated with hearing loss. To determine whether using hearing aids lessens the cost of healthcare, more research is needed. It seems obvious there are more reasons to use them than not. Make an appointment with a hearing care expert to see if hearing aids help you.
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