September is World Alzheimer’s Month

September is World Alzheimer’s Month
Dr. Steinberg

Alzheimer’s disease affects the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, emotion and language. Sometimes, Alzheimer’s and dementia as used interchangeably. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and 60 to 80% of the diagnosed cases of dementia are Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a specific form of dementia. There are other causes of dementia including Parkinson’s, alcohol abuse and high blood pressure.

Globally, two out of three people believe there is little to no understanding of dementia in their countries. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are projected to impact 152 million people world-wide by 2050. Each year September is designated World Alzheimer’s Month to help heighten the awareness about the disease.

Why does Elite Hearing Center think you knowing about Alzheimer’s disease is important? Study after study link untreated hearing loss as being one of the triggers for Alzheimer’s disease and, together, we can address that trigger when you call Elite Hearing Center for a hearing evaluation.

Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease

In addition to untreated hearing loss, other factors increase your risk for getting Alzheimer’s disease. They include rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, smoking and obesity. Each of these factors increases your risk of getting dementia three to six times more than someone who doesn’t suffer from those conditions.

Memory loss is one of the early indicators of Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s more serious than just occasionally forgetting where your keys are. The memory loss is more like – what are these things on a ring and why do I have them? There is also difficulty finding the right words, problems understanding what people are saying, not being able to perform what were previously routine tasks as well as personality and mood changes.

Some other early warning signs are: getting lost in places you’ve been to dozens or maybe even hundreds of times, trouble handling cash and paying bills, repeating the same questions over and over in a very short time, placing items in odd places and confusion about time and events. Personality changes will occur include paranoia and distrust of family members as well as caregivers. Eventually Alzheimer’s disease removes the ability to function in any sort of environment.

Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Hearing loss is a fact of life for 48 million Americans and as you get older, the chances of experiencing hearing loss increase. The majority of Americans over the age of 75 have some hearing loss. More often than note, adults wait – sometimes up to seven years – before hearing loss is treated. Studies show there are already some cognitive issues by then. Waiting to have hearing loss treated means it is harder to treat.

The brain as a use it or lose it sort of organ. Social interaction, utilizing your brain outside the home for driving, shopping, hiking and – just walking are all great brain exercises. Baking, doing the crossword puzzle, reading all help keep you sharp. But your brain having to work too hard to understand sound is not a good thing. Untreated hearing loss causes your brain to struggle with decoding sounds and conversations repeatedly. It puts what scientists call a “cognitive load” on certain areas of the brain and not others.

Hearing Loss and Isolation

People with untreated hearing loss tend to withdraw from activities outside the home. It is embarrassing to not be able to hear all parts of a conversation. It’s also embarrassing to not be able to hear the wait staff discuss the daily special at a restaurant. Or to keep asking a clerk how much something costs.

Cutting down on outside activities removes a valuable piece of social interaction that keeps your cognitive abilities sharp. It leads to depression. Lack of socialization as well as depression have long been recognized as factors that can lead to cognitive decline and dementia.

Elite Hearing Center

Hearing aids improve your quality of life. Studies show individuals using hearing aids report better interactions with friends, family and out in public. There are a variety of models with all sorts of different kinds of technology that can make your life better and can be suited to your lifestyle and budget. Call Elite Hearing Center today and talk to us about an evaluation and hearing aids that have been successful for our patients.