My mom had Alzheimer’s disease for the last 9 years of her life here on earth. She also had a hearing loss which we successfully managed with hearing aids for many decades. As she struggled with memory and communication in her later years, we as a family knew that we had done all we could to insure she was hearing as well as she could with excellent hearing aids. This is an important quality of life issue for your loved one that can be well addressed by a hearing healthcare professional. Good communication in the midst of declining mental ability is a priority that should not be neglected.
Properly fitted hearing aids make many speech sounds audible that would otherwise be lost in communication. Imain trying to pe toger coneraeon wi out earing all o e ound = Imagine trying to piece together conversation without hearing all of the sounds. Combined into the mix of mental disability untreated hearing loss can be devastating with the probability of compounding misunderstandings with increased frustrations possibly affecting mood and personality accompanied by earlier social withdrawal. Further, there is evidence that cognitive decline can be reduced or delayed with better hearing. If you’re a caretaker for a loved one who has declining mental health, talk to your audiologist, your ear, nose and throat physician or your family doctor about hearing loss and hearing rehabilitation.
For more information, read “Preventing Cognitive Decline: Hearing Interventions Promising” by Dr. Barbara Weinstein in The Hearing Journal, Sept 2015, and “Expert Roundtable: Cognition, Audition, and Amplification: 2015” in The Hearing Review, Sept 2015.