Research has revealed that there is a link between hearing and dementia. 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, then it might be important to understand the link between hearing and dementia.
What Causes The Connection between hearing loss and Dementia?
Researchers are trying to understand what causes the relationship 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.
Weakening The Link: Hearing Aids and Dementia
Scientists are currently looking at ways 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. A Recent UK study found that people with hearing loss without hearing aids had an increased risk of all-cause dementia.
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.
Coping With Hearing Loss And Dementia
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 participate in brain-strengthening activities.
A good suggestion for increasing engagement is to:
- Use visual aids: People with hearing loss may benefit from visual aids like sign language, captions, or written notes. Similarly, people with dementia may find it easier to understand information presented visually rather than verbally. Using pictures, diagrams, or videos can help engage them and enhance their understanding.
- Speak clearly and slowly: When communicating with someone with hearing loss or dementia, it’s important to speak clearly and slowly. Use short sentences and simple words to help them follow along. Avoid shouting or speaking too loudly, as this can be overwhelming.
- Encourage participation in activities: Engaging in activities can help people with dementia or hearing loss stay mentally and socially active. Activities like puzzles, games, or crafts can help keep their minds stimulated and improve their cognitive abilities.
- Involve them in conversations: It’s important to involve people with hearing loss and dementia in conversations to help them stay connected with others. Even if they can’t hear or understand everything that’s being said, they can still benefit from social interaction.
- Use music or familiar sounds: Music can be a powerful tool for engaging people with dementia or hearing loss. Playing familiar songs or sounds can help trigger memories and emotions, providing a sense of comfort and familiarity.
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. A Homecare 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 a homecare carer, it’s possible to make the home environment safe, even for people with hearing loss and dementia.
How Care in Kent can help
At Care In Kent, we understand that caring for someone with hearing loss or dementia can be challenging. Our team of experienced and compassionate carers is trained to provide the best possible care for individuals with hearing loss or dementia. We are dedicated to helping our clients cope with the challenges they face, ensuring they receive the support and care they need to live comfortably at home.
If you’re looking for help caring for someone with hearing loss or dementia, please get in touch Our team is available to answer any questions you may have and to help you get started with our services.