September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and with it comes a lot of information about how Alzheimer’s Disease affects people, families, and communities. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, a broad term for many cognitive problems.
A primer on Alzheimer’s Disease
People usually know about Alzheimer’s because of how it affects people’s memories. Alzheimer’s Disease makes it hard for people to remember new things and make new memories. As the disease gets worse, there are, however, a lot of other effects. One of the first signs of Alzheimer’s is general disorientation. This means that people suddenly get lost in familiar and unfamiliar places, forget where they just came from, or lose things they just held. Alzheimer’s patients also get confused when doing things they’ve done before, like handling money or driving their car.
Other symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be very upsetting for friends and family. As Alzheimer’s Disease worsens, people with it can have sudden mood swings and personality changes. They can act like they don’t care about people they used to love or become suspicious of their loved ones and believe that people are out to hurt them. People with advanced Alzheimer’s can act strangely, making inappropriate comments or waking up in the middle of the night and leaving their homes, getting lost.
Can Alzheimer’s Disease be prevented?
Alzheimer’s is a progressive, degenerative disease, which means there is no way to stop it from getting worse and no way to fix the way the brain works. Researchers have been looking for ways to stop the disease from getting worse, and treating hearing loss has been a bright spot in their efforts to help people with Alzheimer’s.
The Lancet International Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care found that lifestyle factors like treating hearing loss could help stop more than a third of dementia cases around the world. Hearing loss usually starts to show up when a person is in their 50s, after being exposed to loud noises for half a lifetime.
Alzheimer’s usually affects older people, but there are a lot of people under 65 who have early-onset Alzheimer’s. This means they are at an age where hearing loss and mental decline can be a factor. Any age is a good time to start working on the risks of hearing loss. Still, middle-aged people with a family history of dementia or other cognitive problems might find it especially helpful.
A hearing treatment plan for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Treating hearing loss is not a cure for Alzheimer’s and is not a “sure bet” to keep Alzheimer’s from happening. Still, improving your hearing can be a big step toward living a longer, healthier life. Here are some steps that must be included in any plan for hearing health:
Talk to a trained professional in hearing health. The first step in figuring out and taking care of your hearing health needs is to see an audiologist you trust. Once you’ve had a safe and non-invasive hearing test, your hearing health professional will be better able to talk to you about the extent of any hearing damage and encourage you as you take the following steps toward better hearing health.
Find the right device to help you hear. There are hearing aids out there that will work well for you. Modern technology has made it possible to make hearing aids that are high-tech, high-quality, and cheap. These hearing aids will meet all of your needs. Hearing aids are essential because they help you hear sounds you may have missed. They also relieve your brain of the need to use resources from other senses to compensate for hearing loss, making you a more well-rounded person.
Practice good hearing habits. We hear loud noises daily, both at home, at work, and out in the world. Simple things you can do every day to protect your hearing and prevent further loss are to put your fingers in your ears when loud sounds come on suddenly, like when sirens go by, and to keep earplugs on hand for noisy places like concerts.
Those who have already detected signs of hearing loss should come and see us for a hearing check up. Contact us today to book an appointment.