Hearing Loss and Dementia

Because my mom has severe hearing loss I have always been concerned about her not having her hearing aids in her ears.  I have long seen the effects of the problem of her not being able to hear.  Here is some of what I see but hearing loss goes well beyond my own personal observations…..  She cannot possibly take part in conversation, she cannot hear when someone walks in the door, the TV has the volume turned up to 100 and she becomes extremely frustrated, moody and agitated all because she cannot hear.

Nobody can possibly feel good when all that stuff is going on.  The first thing I do when I visit her is make sure she has her hearing aids in her ears.

Here is a link to AARP and a recent study that has been done on hearing loss and the onset of dementia.  Here is a little exert from the article.

“In a 2011 study focusing on dementia, Lin and his colleagues monitored the cognitive health of 639 people who were mentally sharp when the study began. The researchers tested the volunteers’ mental abilities regularly, following most for about 12 years, and some for as long as 18 years. The results were striking: The worse the initial hearing loss, the more likely the person was to develop dementia. Compared with people of normal hearing, those with moderate hearing loss had triple the risk.”

There are so many studies out there.  Just google it and you will find all the information you need to read.  Here is another link from Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The importance of hearing goes far beyond just being able to hear.  It has much to do with brain function.  Another link for information on hearing loss and brain function.  This is a little exert from Harvard Health Edu – Hearing loss can lead to greater social isolation, something to which older people are already prone, and social isolation is a definite risk factor for cognitive impairment and dementia. Like impaired vision, diminished hearing can lead to less brain stimulation, another risk factor for a decline in thinking skills. It’s also possible that by making the brain work overtime to process the signals it is getting from the ears, hearing loss pulls away energy from the “thinking” parts of the brain.

Caregivers need to take on the responsibility of making sure your loved ones can hear.  Get those hearing aids put in and you will see a gigantic change on their face.  You will all feel happier and much better about yourself when you do the right thing, and your loved one will begin to feel like a person again.  That is the important part of all this.  Hearing makes you feel relevant.

And lastly, make sure if you are working with a care facility, make sure they know that you insist the hearing aids are in the ears whenever your loved one is up and awake.



4 responses to “Hearing Loss and Dementia

  1. Arrrghh deafness and dementia – the worst possible combination.

    The brain cannot process information, the ears cannot hear it – and where one works the other lets you down… And coping with a hearing aid is just out of the question.

    Thankfully MIL is only partly deaf, but I’ve had enough bellowed phone conversations by now to last me a lifetime.


    • OMG! You are so right! The combination has a devastating affect. I really think that the hearing loss is what caused my mom to go down hill so quickly. However, she is has come back a very long way now. We do make sure her hearing aids are in and she doesn’t seem to be bothered by them anymore. She is soooooo much easier to communicate with. Yesterday my SIL took some new blouses to her and they had the best time trying them on and looking in the mirror. My mom is in a happy place for now.

      Are you in close proximity to your MIL? I cannot wait to get back to Seattle where my mom lives.

      Liked by 1 person

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