Scientist as far back as 1989 established a definitive link between dementia and hearing loss. To demonstrate the complexity of the issue even after 25 years they still can’t explain why.
What is known is that the link exists. According to Australian studies, confirmed by NHS research in Britain, those suffering hearing impairments are 69 percent more likely to have cognitive difficulties. Beyond this point, scientist also found a direct correlation between the rate of decline and the severity of the hearing loss.
The positive side of this is that with the availability of modern hearing aids this chain of cause and effect is easily severed. Even if someone you love is already showing signs of cognitive breakdown, wearing assistive hearing devices can help slow and even reverse the progression of the disease. And, if you realise they are having hearing problems, your early intervention can minimize their chance of developing dementia, to begin with.
It may take some tough love to be sure they wear their hearing aids as they should. Every person differs and every family has its own dynamics. But, that is what loving and caring for someone is all about. It isn’t always doing what makes them happy. It is about doing what is best for the person you care for.
When you realise that someone you love is having hearing problems at any age, encourage them to have their hearing checked. Or someone you care about is showing signs of mental decay, do the same. If their hearing is a contributing factor early intervention can help to stave off their decline.
It is difficult to watch someone you care for slip away. To watch that part of them that makes them who they are slowly vanish into a fog of mental confusion.
Hearing tests are simple and painless to have performed. Today’s hearing aids are comfortable to wear and perform amazingly well. But neither can help if not used.
Do your part to protect those you care about. Remind friends and family to have regular hearing tests and to wear their hearing aids. The years of mental clarity they can provide are priceless.