Research has revealed that there is a link between hearing and cognitive function. Specifically, scientists believe that hearing loss may increase the chances of developing dementia. Dementia is the process of the brain shrinking. Every function can be affected, from memory to coordination. Typically, dementia starts off gradually and worsens over time. Hearing loss tends to occur in the same way. The first sign of hearing loss can be tinnitus. Tinnitus causes ringing in the ears and is a sign that part of your hearing has been damaged. You can no longer hear certain sound frequencies.
If you are looking after a patient with hearing loss, the link to dementia might be important.
Researchers are trying to understand what causes the link between hearing loss and dementia. It is possible that dementia is caused because people with poor hearing often have fewer chances to socialise. They may be excluded from conversations because it is too difficult to connect with them and communicate effectively. Instead, the individual is then talked over or around rather than directly spoken to. Due to this, their skills socialising are affected, and they are using their brain less frequently. They become detached from social interaction. Research has shown that dementia is also linked to a lack of social interaction.
Scientists are currently looking at ways of how to reduce the link between hearing loss and dementia. Hearing loss is incredibly common in the elderly population. A large proportion of people over the age of sixty-five do have some level of hearing loss. Researchers believe that hearing aids could be the key here. Getting fitted with a hearing aid will improve the individual's ability to listen and engage in a conversation. If you are working as a carer, you should encourage the individual to get this type of treatment. Or, work harder to communicate with them naturally.
If you are caring for someone and they begin to suffer from hearing loss, you may want to take this as a sign they could develop dementia. As such, you should try and engage with them more. You need to get them regularly socialising and participating in brain strengthening activities. Ashford, Kent Home Care have carers trained in helping those with hearing loss. As well as this, they will recognise the early signs of dementia. The earlier you notice dementia, the better the outcome will be.
When dementia does start to develop in the later stages, patients will need more care. You may struggle to look after them by themselves. At the same time, you don’t want them to end up in permanent care. An In-house care option may provide the answer that you’re looking for. It will allow your loved one to get the treatment and attention they need. However, they will not lose their independence completely. With an in-house carer, it’s possible to make the home environment safe, even for people with hearing loss and dementia.
If you are helping someone with hearing loss or dementia, contact us now. We can help you cope and make sure you have everything you need.