Why You Should Schedule a Hearing Test for World Alzheimer’s Month

Why You Should Schedule a Hearing Test for World Alzheimer's Month

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, Two out of every three people around the world think their countries don’t know much about dementia or don’t know anything about it. World Alzheimer’s Month expands awareness with each passing year, but the stigma and misinformation about dementia are still a global problem that needs a global solution.

We know the link between untreated hearing loss and the possibility of getting dementia. We want to use this chance to encourage you to learn more about Alzheimer’s and dementia and how treating hearing loss can lower the risk of getting these diseases.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Dementia is a group of brain diseases that worsen over time and affect memory, thinking, behavior, and emotions.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Up to 90% of people with dementia have this disease. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can make it hard for a person to do everyday things.

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are both conditions that affect older people, usually those over 65. Scientists don’t know what causes these disorders, but they think that, like other long-term conditions, they are probably caused by more than one thing. So, people are told to keep an eye on their high blood pressure, work out regularly, and stop smoking to lower their risk of these and other diseases that affect people over 65.

One easy way to take care of your health and possibly lower your risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia is to get your hearing checked every year and treat hearing loss if it shows up.

The link between hearing loss & Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers are finding more and more evidence of a link between hearing loss and mental decline. One promising finding is that treating hearing loss could lower the risk of getting dementia. One thing that dementia and hearing loss have in common is that one in three people over 65 are at risk of getting them.

Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the US, and it affects people over 65 most. Hearing loss is often a natural part of getting older, but studies show that hearing is essential for brain health and that losing hearing can make it harder to think and remember things. The good news is that researchers are finding more evidence that treating hearing loss could improve cognitive processes, lowering the risk of getting dementia.

Dr. Frank Lin, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and other researchers have a few ideas about why hearing loss and dementia might be linked, but they aren’t sure which one will be right.

Dr. Lin has led several recent studies that show a link between hearing problems and problems with thinking and memory, from mild problems to dementia. In two different studies, one done in 2011 and the other in 2013, it was shown that people with severe hearing loss had less brain power.

In the first study, 639 people who were mentally healthy at the start of the study were followed to see how their mental health changed over time. Researchers kept track of the mental abilities of the people who took part for a long time—most for about 12 years and some for 18 years. There was a strong link between how bad a person’s hearing loss was when they started and how likely they were to get dementia. Even people with only mild hearing loss had a three times greater chance of getting this condition.

In the second study, Dr. Lin and his colleagues looked at how healthy seniors with an average age of 77 thought about things in general. People with severe hearing loss at the start of the study had a 24 percent higher chance of getting dumber with age.

But Dr. Lin quickly pointed out that just because someone has a higher risk of dementia doesn’t mean they will get it. He used his 92-year-old grandmother as an example. She has had moderately severe hearing loss for many years but is still “as sharp as a tack.”

Ready to seek help?

Hearing specialists say that people over 50 should get their hearing checked every year. In honor of World Alzheimer’s Month, call us to set up an appointment for a hearing test! If hearing loss is found, our team can help you find the best solution for your needs.