Is your Loved One suffering Alzheimers or Hearing Loss?

November 21, 2019

Alzheimers is a seriously debilitating disease.  Worse still, hearing loss can be misdiagnosed as Alzheimers, something no-one wants to be presented with. 

Both conditions present with similar symptoms such as sadness, anxiety, depression, confusion, memory loss of past events and people (ie partners, family and close friends), impatience and lack of trust.

Although it can be daunting and frightening, it’s not difficult to understand and comprehend how this can be. If a person is unable to hear a conversation they can’t experience the situation, hence have no memory of the event; this may seem to others as though that person has a bad memory, when in fact they simply just can’t hear.  This is where a misdiagnosis of the early onset of Alzheimers can mistakenly be made.  Unable to hear questions in a cognitive function evaluation is very sad and prevents the person from answering questions correctly.  By the same token, people may mistake early stages of Alzheimers for hearing loss.

In either scenario, the best way to prevent a misdiagnosis being made is to have regular hearing checks and to address hearing loss as soon as it has been confirmed by a professional.

Several studies have shown that there is a direct link between hearing loss and cognitive loss, and that untreated hearing loss may increase the risk of developing Alzheimers.  Suggested reasons for this connection are:

  • Untreated hearing loss may see a person become isolated, withdrawn and suffer depression
  • Stimulating one’s brain is more difficult when a person is unable to hear.  This can result in the person not attending concerts, music festivals, the theatre, social events and family gatherings.

The brain needs stimulation to keep it active and healthy, and without this ingredient may lead to Alzheimers.

Measures to prevent further damage to one’s hearing loss is to wear appropriate protection when exposed to loud noises eg at a music festival, playing in a band or at certain workplaces; keeping the volume down and having your audiologist or doctor remove excess wax from the ear/s. 

Regular hearing checks/screenings can raise the alarm to any potential hearing loss issues a person may encounter.  Don’t wait or ignore the diagnosis; early detection can prevent much bigger problems occurring in the future.

According to science daily a new study has concluded people who wear a hearing aid for age related hearing problems maintain better brain function over time than those who do not.

If you have any questions regarding your own hearing or that of a loved one, please call us or come in to one of our clinics and our audiologist will be more than happy to assist you, and put your mind at ease.  You are not alone.

Warm regards

Regina Barnett

Posted in