Dementia Awareness Week: Hearing Loss and Dementia

Dementia Awareness Week: Hearing Loss and Dementia

May 24, 2018

Each year, the Alzheimer’s Society hosts Dementia Awareness Week to increase people’s understanding and support of the condition. From 21-27 May, the Alzheimer’s Society wants people to see how they can help the fight against dementia, joining their mission to one day make it a thing of the past. Over 40,000 people under the age of 65 live with dementia in the UK, but with people’s support that number can decrease. With a proven link between hearing loss and dementia, The Hearing Care Partnership fully supports the Alzheimer’s Society in their work.

What is dementia?

Dementia is the number one cause of death in the UK (Alzheimer’s Society), yet many of us are unaware of what it is or even what the symptoms are. Officially, dementia is a blanket term for all kinds of brain disorders which can cause symptoms such as memory loss, speech problems and difficulty processing thoughts. This is caused by nerves in the brain being damaged or an issue with brain chemistry. As you age, your chances of developing dementia increase. Due to the fact that people are living a lot longer, we have a society where thousands of people are living with dementia, yet there is no increase in action taken against it.

What does hearing loss have to do with it?

The auditory cortex is the part of your brain which processes sound, and it needs to be kept active in order for you to hear well. Untreated hearing loss can cause auditory deprivation, which is when your auditory cortex can no longer process these sounds even if the frequencies are picked up. This not only affects your hearing permanently, but it also means that this part of your brain is less active – which in turn is a key cause of dementia.

How can I make sure hearing loss doesn’t increase my risk of dementia?

If you’re not already, use hearing aids to keep your hearing at its best and your brain active. Hearingaids can prevent further auditory deprivation and better preserve the hearing you have. The more you hear, the more active your auditory cortex is – hearing aids are the best way to keep your hearing loss from interfering with your future health.

Support the cause

If there is one message the Alzheimer’s Society wants to give this week, it’s that the cure for dementia can only happen when people take action. Whether you fundraise, or take part in their Dementia Friends programme, help them to create a community which both understands dementia and fights to find a cure. If you’re worried about your hearing, or the hearing of a loved one, get in touch with your local THCP practice, or book an appointment online.