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is it alzheimer’s


or hearing loss? by John McNamara, Au.D.


Data from many studies suggest that the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is on the rise. However, many of the symptoms associated with early Alzheimer’s disease are the same as those associated with hearing loss.


According to a recent study led by Frank R. Lin, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, the risk of dementia increased among participants with at least a mild 25-decibel hearing loss. Participants with more severe hearing loss showed increased likelihood of being diagnosed with dementia -- and even Alzheimer’s. The relationship between Alzheimer’s and hearing loss should come as no surprise. After all, you can’t remember what someone said if you didn’t hear them say it.


Several symptoms are common to both Alzheimer’s and untreated hearing loss. These symptoms include depression, anxiety, feelings of isolation, and problems talking and understanding what is being said. In addition, people with either Alzheimer’s or unidentified hearing loss may have inappropriate responses to social cues, lower scores on tests of mental function, attitudes of denial, defensiveness, or negativity, and increased distrust of others’ motives, even those of family and friends. Individuals with unidentified hearing loss may appear paranoid and excessively concerned that others are talking about them.


Untreated hearing loss can be a significant quality- of-life issue.


It can cause marital and family strain,


lead to social isolation, depression, and anxiety. And the solution to improve some of these issues can be so simple.


Identifying whether an individual’s problem is related to their hearing is a first step. An audiologist can determine the degree and severity of the problem, as well as recommend an appropriate treatment plan.


If hearing aids are recommended, it’s important to note that today’s technology offers a wide range of options to best meet individuals’ needs and lifestyles.


If you are concerned about a loved one who is experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned


Short-term pain


and symptom management, and end-of-life care


in a soothing, home-like setting.


For admission, call us today at 585-787-8315


1450 Portland Ave. Rochester, NY 14621


ROCHESTER HEALTHY LIVING | APRIL 2011 | 5


ROCHESTER RESOURCE: Ontario Hearing, 2 Area Offices (585) 442-4180


above, see an audiologist to have their hearing tested. In several studies, even patients with Alzheimer’s showed improved ability to understand and communicate after they were fitted with hearing aids.


For more information about ways to improve hearing, visit www.ontariohearing.com.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John McNamara, AuD, is an audiologist at Ontario Hearing. He believes the challenge to stay educated about changes in hearing technology and to implement them correctly is what provides the best results for his patients.


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