Exploring The Link Between Hearing Loss and Alzheimer’s

It’s long been thought of as a fact that as one ages, hearing loss and memory loss are bound to follow. However, recent research shows a connection between Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. Among people over 60, hearing loss accounted for over one-third of the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.


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Many of the symptoms associated with early Alzheimer’s disease are the same as those associated with hearing loss. For example, some of these symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Increased distrust of others’ motives
  • Problems talking and understanding what is being said
  • Inappropriate responses to social cues
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Lower scores on mental function tests
  • Denial
  • Defensiveness or negativity

The connection between Alzheimer’s and hearing loss may be found in the brain. When we hear, sound travels into the ear and stimulates small hair cells, which then vibrate and trigger electrical impulses traveling to the brain stem and then the temporal lobe. The temporal cortex, occipital cortex, posterior parietal cortex, and brain stem all affect our ability to hear a sound and perceive its location.

Hearing loss affects brain activity as well. The small hair cells can disappear as a result of age or continued exposure to loud noises. Without these small hair cells, it’s harder to capture sound, and the less sound you hear, the less active your nerves are, which in turn makes your brain less active. An inactive brain can shrink and can lead to nerve cell death and tissue loss throughout the brain.

Mild hearing loss doubles the risk of dementia, and the risk of dementia appears to rise as hearing declines. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, talk to your doctor about getting tested for early hearing loss. Many studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients show an improved ability to communicate and understand after being fitted with hearing aids.


Several Ways to Improve Hearing Ability

Hearing just like the other four sensory organs of vision, smell, taste and touch is equally indispensable that is essential in our everyday living for us to be able to communicate and to connect with our loved ones, work and social events. Hearing impairment can be caused by damage to the inner ear from injury, infection or through aging. Prolonged exposure to loud noises like in parties and shooting ranges can damage the cochlea, a spiral-shaped cavity of the inner ear and the main organ of hearing. The cochlea is the one responsible in converting sound vibrations into nerve impulses. Hearing loss cannot be healed nor repaired dramatically as intervention of medicine and technology like Vivid Acoustics is needed to enhance hearing ability of the damaged ears. The site offers different affordable top of the line assistive listening systems and hearing enhancement products

As sound is an important element in our lives, we should be aware of the ways how to improve our hearing ability.

Wax build up inside the ear can interfere with hearing and sometimes causes a ringing sensation that is painful or irritable. Consulting an EENT is recommended to determine the solution in the removal of the impacted earwax.

Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions commonly known as presbycusis affecting older adults. It is advisable to see a hearing professional to find the treatment or hearing aid that is right for you which could be helpful in improving hearing capability.

Audible impairment can also be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, heart conditions or stroke, head injuries, tumors, and certain medicines. It can happen to anyone at different ages and not necessarily for elders only. Monitoring the hearing capability is crucial especially when one is in poor health or ailing.

Avoid loud noises such as listening to loud music. Using plug in headphones in full volume can damage eardrums. Frequent partying in places with shrill and irritating noises can weaken or worst can harm audible range.

Practice sound therapy or active listening once in a while to focus hearing, to train the ears to pick up subtler, slight and ambient sounds in your environment.

Life would be most enjoyable if we can hear, listen and communicate well.

Additional Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Improve-Your-Hearing