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Study Links Hearing Loss And Dementia

August 17, 2011 Leave a comment

According to a new study from John Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging, adults with significant hearing loss are at a much greater risk of developing dementia. The study followed 639 dementia-free adults ages 36 to 90. The participants in the study were tested for hearing loss and dementia every two years for nearly two decades. The researchers found that those with hearing loss at the beginning of the study were much more likely to develop dementia by the end, even after taking into account age and other risk factors. The risk of dementia only began to rise once hearing loss began to interfere with the ability to communicate, for example, in a noisy restaurant. The study also found that hearing loss increased the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but the two were not as strongly linked as hearing loss and other forms of dementia. Frank Lin, M.D., assistant professor of Otology at John Hopkins University and an author of the study says the research is the first major study that connects hearing loss to the development of dementia and could lead to additional research on the subject.

Lin says it may be that whatever causes dementia also causes hearing loss, but there is no clear evidence. He thinks it is more likely that the neurological stress of dealing with hearing loss contributes to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. “If you are out to dinner with friends at a busy restaurant and it’s very, very loud, by the time you get home you’re exhausted, because you spend so much time trying to think about the words people are saying, to decipher everything,” he says. Dementia, the insidious loss of memory, logic and language that interferes with daily living is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide and carries a heavy societal burden. After age 85, nearly half of all seniors will have some level of cognitive impairment or dementia. Without proper care, people with dementia may eat poorly and irregularly and ignore exercise and social activity, all activities that could likely improve their health.  Family caregivers are usually the first to recognize that dementia may be developing and should seek medical evaluation as soon as the symptoms are noticed.Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, afflicting about 5 percent of seniors between sixty-five and seventy-four. However, nearly half of those over the age of eighty-five are affected.  Vascular dementia is considered the second most common form of dementia.

This type of dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to parts of the brain. One type of vascular dementia can occur after a single stroke blocks the flow of blood to a large part of the brain.  In another type of vascular dementia, a series of very small strokes block small arteries. Singularly, these strokes are small enough not to cause major symptoms, but over time, their combined effect becomes noticeable. Symptoms of vascular dementia can be similar to Alzheimer’s disease. They include problems with memory, confusion and difficulty following instructions. In some cases, the impairment associated with vascular dementia can be more rapid and marked. Alzheimer’s advances slowly, gradually causing crippling brain damage with symptoms that can include paranoia.
Although the reason for the link between hearing loss and dementia is unknown, the researchers in the study suggest that a common pathology may underlie both or that the strain of decoding sounds over the years may overwhelm the brains of people with hearing loss, leaving them more vulnerable to dementia. They also speculate that hearing loss could lead to dementia by making individuals more socially isolated, a known risk factor for dementia and other cognitive disorders. Whatever the cause, the scientists report their findings may offer a starting point for interventions even as simple as hearing aids that could delay or prevent dementia by improving patients’ hearing.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care San Antonio, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Facilities and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

Sounds of Silence – Seniors Get Left Out Because Of Hearing Problems

June 21, 2011 Leave a comment

About one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing problems. About half the people who are 85 and older have hearing loss. Whether a hearing loss is minimal or severe, left untreated, problems can get worse. The National Institute on Aging indicates hearing loss is the third most prevalent treatable health condition often associated with aging, after arthritis and hypertension. A hearing aid can help ninety-five percent of older adults with hearing problems. Only 22 percent of older adults who need aids have them.

Hearing loss can affect your life in many ways. You may miss out on chats with friends and family. On the telephone, you may find it hard to hear what the caller is saying. At the doctor’s office, you may not catch critical information. It’s easy to withdraw when you can’t follow a conversation. It is also easy for friends and family to think you are confused, uncaring, or difficult, when the problem may be that you just can’t hear well. Attempts to communicate are fraught with irritability and disconnect.

hearing aid by *mrdynamite on deviantART

Seeing a doctor is the first step in dealing with a hearing problem. Your physician’s referral to a specialist who can determine the extent of hearing loss and prescribe various options for improvement such as hearing aids, special training, medicines or surgery is usually the next step.
There are other “hearing aids” you might consider. There are listening systems to help you enjoy television or radio without being bothered by other sounds around you. Some hearing aids can be plugged directly into TVs, music players, microphones, and personal FM systems to help you hear well.

Some telephones work with certain hearing aids to make sounds louder and remove background noise. Some auditoriums, movie theaters, and other public places are equipped with special sound systems that send sounds directly to your ears. Alerts such as doorbells, smoke detectors, and alarm clocks can give you a signal that you can see or a vibration that you can feel. For example, a flashing light can let you know someone is at the door or on the phone.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Los Angeles and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

Assisted Living Facilities May Incorporate Antioxidant Rich Diets To Minimize Effects Of Hearing Loss Amongst Seniors

August 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Many of things we believed in the past science has now proven wrong. New research is demonstrating that another medical fact is now just a myth. New discoveries are indicating that the condition of hearing loss, considered to be just another sign of aging, can actually be minimized by eating an antioxidant rich diet or taking antioxidant supplements. Hearing loss affects almost 1/2 of the people in the US who are over age 65, according to data from various health studies conducted around the country. Hearing loss is expected to be a problem for at least 28 million senior citizens by the year 2030. The deterioration of nerves and membrane cells inside the inner ear are some of the main culprits of hearing loss. Since it is impossible for nerve cells to be able to regenerate, their demise results in permanent hearing loss amongst seniors. However, recent publications indicate that this is not always a result of simple aging. Residential assisted living communities are responsible for the care and health of their senior patients and make sure their diet consists of the nutrition their bodies need. With findings such as these it is likely that assisted living medical professionals will incorporate antioxidant rich diets for the patients suffering from hearing loss. Not only will antioxidants hopefully reduce the effects of hearing loss among seniors but they will also prevent cancer and conditions such as coronary heart disease.

In regards to aging, knowledge among researchers centers around the theory that oxidative damage from “free radicals” that attack the mitochondria, which are the energy center of cells. As the damage continues over months and years, the mitochondria are thrown into havoc and release proteins that cause cells to die. This leads to a host of physical effects associated with aging, including hearing loss. Through countless experiments, researchers have discovered that the development of age-related hearing loss was greatly slowed in animals with excess amounts of an enzyme that attack free radicals, as well as in animals that were fed antioxidants. Many agree that the research clearly shows that oxidative stress causes hearing loss. In conclusion, if oxidative stress can lead to damage and death of hearing-related cells, strengthening the defenses of the mitochondria with antioxidants should prevent or reduce this damage. Medical professionals working in assisted adult living centers are going to keep an eye out for the development of this study. Studies such as these will improve the conditions of senior patients residing in Assisted Living Communities.

Strawberry, strawberry. by *Inadesign on deviantART

In simpler cases, anything that completely blocks the ear canal can cause hearing loss regardless of age. Earwax blockage is common. A doctor can cure this easily by removing the wax either with specially designed instruments or by flushing it with water. There are many over- the-counter wax control preparations that can be used at home. However, they sometimes can cause external ear infections. Many other problems can block the ear canal and lead to hearing loss. Such blocking causes a decrease in volume but does not generally produce distortion.

These problems include:
Infections accompanied by swelling that shut the ear canal
Foreign bodies in the ear
Injury
Birth defects
Growths in the ear canal

Any of these including blockage by wax, may result in conductive hearing loss. That is, it interferes with sound conduction and is generally correctable. It causes decrease in volume but does not generally produce distortion. Assisted living medical professionals are dedicated to the betterment of senior life. Assisted living facilities are designed for seniors to enjoy their remaining years in serenity. The results of proven studies and the latest development of research are incorporated into the curriculums of assisted living communities in order to give seniors a better chance at life.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Houston and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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