According to the Alzheimer's Association a startling 5.3 million people in the United States alone suffer with Alzheimer's disease spending a whopping $172 billion dollars a year in related costs. Despite awareness and research into this troublesome and life robbing disease the rate of death from Alzheimer's rose 46.1% from 2000 to 2006.
These statistics are one reason why November is such an important month for those suffering from Alzheimer's as well as those caring for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer's disease. November is National Alzheimer's Awareness Month.
Whether or not you know or care for someone with Alzheimer's disease it's vital to be aware of early warning signs of Alzheimer's and do all you can to help them live the most vibrant and full life even with this sometimes confusing disease. If you don't know anyone with this devastating disease pass this information on to someone who does.
Alzheimer's is a disease of the brain causing dementia. In fact, Alzheimer's is the most common culprit of disturbing dementia. In this disease the brain is attacked and everyday functions that many of us take for granted become impossible or at best extremely difficult to do.
According to the Alzheimer's Association there are ten main warning signs to watch for to diagnose Alzheimer's. To learn more about these signs visit the Alzheimer's Association website.
The Hearing Loss and Alzheimer's Connection
You may be wondering by now what Alzheimer's has to do with hearing loss. Hearing loss and Alzheimer's, as well as dementia from other causes, can be intricately connected.
When you think about Alzheimer's disease one of the more common problems associated with this disease is the inability (or compromised ability) to communicate. Many times Alzheimer's patients in the later stages of the disease seem to be in their own world, often not responding to others or stimuli within their environment that we would expect them to notice.
Conversations go on without them, questions are asked but remain unanswered, in fact much of the time the Alzheimer's patient seems completely unaware that questions or discussion are even occurring in their midst.
Now consider for a moment what the same situation would look like with a person with moderate to severe hearing loss. Once again questions would go unanswered, conversations would remain very much one sided, and the caregiver, unless they were aware of the hearing loss, would find it difficult if not impossible to communicate with this person.
How Hearing Loss Treatment Improves Alzheimer's Patients Quality of Life
Now consider for a moment the person you know with Alzheimer's. Do they struggle with similar communication issues as discussed here? Could it be that in addition to Alzheimer's they have a problem with hearing loss? Are they missing out on stimuli in their environment to keep their brain active?
Diagnosing a hearing loss in someone suffering with Alzheimer's can be a huge relief for both the sufferer and their caregivers. Hearing loss compounds the Alzheimer patients ability to communicate and this decreased communication is often completely attributed to Alzheimer's when often it's a separate, treatable hearing loss problem to blame.
When someone suffers with Alzheimer's their cognitive function is often decreased making it very difficult for them to on their own realize they have a hearing loss problem let alone communicate to others.
According to the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) research shows that hearing loss can significantly and negatively impact an older person's declining cognitive dysfunction. When hearing loss and Alzheimer's are found together this person has usually been experiencing serious and varied problems from the combination of the problems that have been previously blamed solely on the Alzheimer's.
BHI states that research shows that the use of hearing aids along with other services decreases the Alzheimer patients suffering with the following:
- Social isolation
- Loss of independence
- Decreasing cognitive function
These are all important parts of a person's life that a simple hearing test to determine and then appropriately treat hearing loss can change for the better.
With the increase in Alzheimer's as well as a rapidly growing senior population it's vital that family and friends become aware of early warning signs for Alzheimer's as well as hearing loss.
Give the Gift of Hearing
The holidays bring about many family gatherings and social events. If you notice that one of your loved ones seems to be exhibiting any of the signs for Alzheimer's or hearing loss take action. Early detection with any physical impairment or disease is the first step to treating and potentially solving the problem.
When it comes to hearing loss there are so many options for people who suffer from this today. Hearing aids along with making television, computers, and phones more accessible for those with hearing loss is easy, affordable and can make an enormous difference in the lives of those living with hearing loss. It is even more important to diagnose hearing loss for someone also suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
To find a hearing professional near you or your loved one, visit Healthy Hearing's Find a Professional section today.