Friday, September 23, 2011

Dementia: Hearing Aids Can Help

The Chicago Tribune reports that hearing aids may assist in helping dementia patients might help increase memory, reduce anxiety and increase social interaction among dementia patients, local health experts say. 

"Whether you have dementia or not, you need to hear," said Ronna Fisher, audiologist and founder and president of Hearing Health Center in Chicago and three suburbs. "It's not normal not to hear. Hearing is what makes us happy in our relationships. If you can't hear, you stop talking." 

 Improved sensory perception won't stop the progression of dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease, experts said, but increasing the ability to hear will help reduce a patient's loneliness and confusion. "Getting hearing aids does help them," said Diane Morgan, memory support coordinator. "When their hearing is down, they experience paranoia or anxiety because they can't hear what's being said to them."

 Fisher, whose father suffered hearing loss at an early age, said she began noticing in 2008 that when her dementia patients were fitted with hearing aids –– especially deep-insert hearing devices that remain in the ear for three months at a time –– they socialized more and their memories improved. In a study released this year, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and the National Institute on Aging found that seniors suffering from hearing loss were more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing. 

Among other things, the research suggests that hearing loss could lead to social isolation, a risk factor for dementia. The research should offer hope to physicians treating dementia patients, said Dr. Marsel Mesulam, director of the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern's medical school. "Doctors and health care providers treating elderly patients should not throw up their hands treating dementia," Mesulam said. "

They can look at other factors that are treatable, like hearing loss or vision." Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a term used to describe the common symptoms of memory loss and declining cognitive abilities that interfere with daily life, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ind. — A garage sale to raise funds to buy children hearing aids is Friday, Saturday at Sunday at 3356 Cessna Drive.
People can donate items. The money raised will be used to buy hearing aids for 6-year-old Michael Sharp, of Columbus, who has severe hearing loss and speech problems. Any money left over will be given to the office of Dr. Jane Bowman, of Columbus, to help purchase hearing aids for 11 other children.Information: 581-0604 or 350-9135.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hearing Aids: More Important Than We Thought?

New studies from the Journal of Neuroscience are showing that hearing loss in older adults ;can lead to loss of brain volume. The MRI's results suggest that even moderate declines in peripheral auditory acuity lead to a systematic downregulation of neural activity during the processing of higher-level aspects of speech.