LINK BETWEEN ALZHEIMER’S AND HEARING LOSS

Deficient hearing has been linked to a greater risk of dementia, poor cognitive function and falling in the elderly, according to a recent study at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. The impact of hearing loss on the aging isn’t inconsequential and should be treated.

“When you have hearing loss, your brain has to work harder to decode and process sound,” explained lead study author Frank Lin, an assistant professor of otolaryngology and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins. If your brain has to reallocate resources to hearing, it probably comes at the expense of cognition or thinking ability. Another study, conducted at the University of Washington’s Department of Medicine looked at 100 cases of Alzheimer’s disease compared to the general population. The researchers found that 83% of those hospitalized for dementia, had hearing loss. More importantly, once fit with hearing aids, 33% were classified with less severe dementia. Another study from 2011 by John Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging found a similar link. The common symptoms and warning signs of Alzheimer’s include:

•     Memory Loss

•     Misplacing Things

•     Difficulty with familiar tasks

•     Disorientated with Time/Place

•     Changes in mood or behavior

•     Changes in personality

•     Loss of Initiative

Many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be caused by other impairments, such as hearing loss. If a loved one is displaying symptoms of not remembering dates or appointments, withdrawal, personality changes and inappropriate responses to questions, one of the first steps is to have their hearing evaluated. By finding the origins of their specific symptoms, a more effective treatment plan can be implemented. In other words, by treating the hearing loss, the effects of the Alzheimer’s become more apparent.

Dr. Amy Holland is an expert on hearing loss in the aging population, and eager to serve as a valuable team member in the care of your elderly patients. Her practice is fully equipped with state-of-the-art instruments for both the evaluation of and treatment for, hearing loss. She is passionate about helping patients and their families understand the complicated effects of hearing loss, guiding them through the treatment process and returning them to a life rich with sound again. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Holland, please fill out the Contact Us form.

RINGING IN THE EARS? UNDERSTANDING TINNITUS

For most people, silence is golden. For people suffering with tinnitus, that silence can be miserable. Even the quietest of moments, such as sleep, can be filled with buzzing, humming or ringing sounds. This unfortunate condition is called tinnitus. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), it has affected nearly 25 million Americans to date. While there is presently no cure for this condition, there are options to help.

Tinnitus is primarily caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises but also can stem from aging, head injuries or side effects from medications. For many of those afflicted, the impacts can be grave as the perpetual ringing can cause difficulties in mood, concentration and sleeping. While there are no curable options, different treatments can be used to help ease the suffering from the condition or help reduce the degree to which it is prevalent. These treatments include counseling to help in coping with the effects of tinnitus, sound therapy using subtle background noises to lessen the effects and, in some cases, hearing aids have been able to help provide relief though amplification of other sounds.

If you or someone you know suffers from ringing in the ears, the staff at Ascent Audiology & Hearing want to help evaluate treatment options to possibly lessen the effects of tinnitus. Simply fill out the Contact Us form and we will readily supply more information or contact you to schedule a free hearing evaluation and consultation.

Happy Hearing!

Dr. Amy Holland

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