My Everyday Tools: Hearing Aids and Glasses
It seems odd that hearing aids are not something I focused on as a tool for assisting my “wellbeing” in a significant way. If you think about it at all, it would seem that hearing aids are just as important as glasses for reading and driving. My favorite question these days, which I have adopted from Rachel Maddow of MSNBC – “Why is that“?
Flash back to August of 2017, when I wrote a post about hearing loss, and at that time I called attention to the research, which determined that dementia ( I repeat, dementia) could be related to hearing loss. (https://livingsenior.me/2017/08/21/hearing-loss-dementia/)
Flash forward, after a recent hearing test (have you had one lately? ever had one?), my Audiologist doctor determined that I required hearing aids due to hearing loss in both ears. In addition, she was concerned because difficulty hearing raises dementia risk. There it is again: dementia and hearing loss are related.
I recently had the benefit of attending a talk about dementia and how to plan and live with this challenging condition/disease.
Dr. Tia Powell has written a book, “Dementia Reimagined …” . She weaves in some of her personal story as a means of inviting us to have a conversation about this life changing condition. Both her grandmother and mother had dementia.
Just two startling facts I learned are that 10% of Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) over the age of 65, and 50% of Boomers 85 and older are expected to have some experience of dementia. The longer we live, the more likely we may become subject to this condition/disease.
In addition, Dr. Powell discusses a positive approach to preparing to live with the possibility of dementia in our later years. The glass is half full and not a more dismal half-empty outlook. She encourages us to “take on” this challenge to a life with “dignity and planning“.
As we age, memory loss is quite frustrating. For example, recalling names, details of incidents we just experienced, or giving directions to someone. In addition to remembering our next appointment without checking the calendar to make sure.
I’ve often wondered how one can recognize dementia as opposed to memory loss. Normal memory loss and dementia are not the same. Dementia can impact your ability to take care of yourself. If you are consistently forgetting where you put things time after time, could it be a sign of dementia? How concerned should we be? How can we discern the differences? What steps can we take to keep our brains and memory in good condition?
- Recent statistics are that by 2025, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to reach 7.1 million – a 40 percent increase from the 5.1 million age 65 and older affected in 2015. Source: www.alz.org/facts/overview.asp
Normal forgetfulness: ♦ Occasionally forgetting where you left things that you use regularly, such as glasses or keys. ♦ Forgetting names of acquaintances or blocking one memory with a similar one, such as calling a grandson by your son’s name. ♦ Occasionally forgetting an appointment or walking into a room and forgetting why you entered. ♦ Not quite being able to retrieve information you have “on the tip of your tongue.” Continue reading
How often have you found yourself questioning whether you heard something correctly, or have asked someone to repeat themselves? Does it happen in a crowded room? Are you turning up the volume on your TV more often?
- Hearing loss that occurs gradually as you age (presbycusis) is common. About 25 percent of people in the United States between the ages of 55 and 64 have some degree of hearing loss. For those older than 65, the number of people with some hearing loss is almost 1 in 2. Source: Hearing loss – Mayo Clinic
In my research the following information gave me a more serious approach to thinking about hearing loss and why I should pay attention.
- People with mild, moderate and severe hearing loss are 2, 3 and 5 times more likely to develop dementia respectively than people with normal hearing.Even after taking into account other factors that are associated with high risk of dementia, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, age, sex and race, hearing loss and dementia are still strongly associated. Source: Dementia and hearing loss – hear-it.org
- The findings concerning hearing loss and dementia suggest that it might be possible to delay the onset of dementia through the use of hearing aids and paying more attention to the prevention and early identification of hearing loss.Source: Hearing aids, cognition and dementia – hear-it.org