Dementia is a disease that effects senior citizens. It is a terrible disease that literally fries the human brain. Recent studies have shown that a gradual hearing loss is one of the early symptoms of alzheimer’s disease, as well as other types of dementia.
Hearing impairments prevent seniors from following conversations. The loss of hearing also leads to seniors becoming confused. Some researchers believe that the loss of hearing and mental facilities are both factors in the development of dementia. Although brain abnormalities are a contributing factor to dementia, recent studies indicate that the hearing can be a cause of dementia. One of the theories is that the hearing loss interferes with the brains division of labor.
Hearing Loss and the Brain
Frank R. Lynn, M.D., an ear surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, located in Baltimore, Maryland, recently stated “the brain might have to reallocate resources to help with hearing at the expense of cognition.” George Gates, M.D., a hearing loss specialist affiliated with the University of Washington, stated that hearing loss is a “harborer of impending dementia.” Studies conducted by Dr. Gates have proved the link between hearing loss and early stages of dementia and alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Gates stated that we listen with our ears but hear with our brains. It is simply not possible to separate hearing loss and cognition.
Individuals with hearing problems have difficulty communicating. When there is background noise, such as in public places, the hearing loss contributes to confusion and isolation of seniors. Hearing loss has a significant impact on senior citizens. It places a barrier between seniors and their loved ones. Dr. Lynn stated that ” because it is such a slow and insidious process, it is often ignored and untreated.” It is currently unclear as to whether hearing aides utilized at the early signs of hearing loss will reduce the development of dementia in aging Americans.
Dementia Is Incurable
Dementia is a horrible incurable disease. Modern medicine does not know how to prevent it. When diagnosed, all that can be done is to slow the progress of the dementia. Even the restoration of hearing loss issues may not slow the progress. Hearing loss should be taken seriously. It destroys an individual’s quality of life!!
Elliot S. Schlissel is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. His law office assists clients in Medicaid planning. They draft wills and trusts for their clients. They assist executors of estates in probating wills. Should issues occur among beneficiaries, they represent clients in will contests in the Surrogate Court. They can advise their clients regarding estate planning and issues involving estate taxes under the current legislation for the years 2011 and 2012.
They draft both revocable and irrevocable living trusts. The offices’ elder care legal practice deals with issues concerning nursing home abuse. They assist clients with issues involving special children and they assist families with long-term planning for special children. They also draft special needs trusts. Call for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 and 718-350-2802.