No Year is Worth Forgetting

This New Year, make it a goal to help a parent or grandparent prevent any of the causes of Alzheimer’s or dementia. One of these causes, unbeknownst to many, may commonly be hearing loss. Recent studies conducted at the University of Washington’s Department of Medicine found that out of 100 patients with Alzheimer’s, 83 of them had a hearing loss. Once fit with hearing aids, a third of those patients were classified with a less severe case of dementia.

So how is hearing loss related to Alzheimer’s

Well, hearing loss actually plays a large role in brain function and stimulating brain activity in processing sounds. The term “auditory deprivation” refers to depriving the brain of stimulation from sounds. For those with untreated hearing losses, the reduced ability to hear every day sounds may lead to reduced sound processing activity by the brain. As the brain receives fewer sounds, it becomes less active in processing a person’s surrounding and recognizing speech.

What can be done?

The first step toward prevention is an easy one…have a hearing test to identify hearing loss. In fact, the Michigan chapter of Self-Help for Hard of Hearing advocates for requiring a hearing evaluation prior to any Alzheimer’s diagnosis to determine impact and overlap  with results of hearing loss. To schedule your free hearing appointment, simply call us or submit your information on our Contact page.

Hearing Loss Can Make For a Frustrating Holiday Season – Communication Strategies Can Help

The sounds of the holidays; joyous music, lively conversation and family gatherings are a cherished part of every holiday season. But if a loved one has trouble hearing in crowded, noisy situations, or suffers any degree of hearing loss, the holidays may lose some of their luster.

A person with hearing loss symptoms may have difficulty hearing the higher pitched tones of children’s (and women’s) speech. Missing out on a grandchild’s recitation of a wish list, or not being able to contribute to a family conversation about holiday memories, can be frustrating for both the person suffering from hearing loss, as well as family members who may not be aware of the hearing problem.

There are ways to help a loved one with hearing problems enjoy the holiday season. It takes observation, awareness and a healthy dose of patience – communication skills that are useful year round – but may be even more important when families and friends gather to celebrate.

  • Be sure the person is paying attention before you speak.
  • Speak face-to-face, never from a different room or from behind.
  • Dimly lit situations make it difficult to see facial expressions. Try to have conversations in areas with good lighting like a kitchen or near a window.
  • While speaking, avoid activities like smoking or chewing that make lip reading difficult.
  • Speak at a natural pace and volume level.
  • Try to reduce background noises. Even people who wear hearing aids may have difficulty hearing in noisy situations.

The holidays often provide the perfect opportunity for a heartfelt family discussion about health concerns. Recognizing the causes and types of hearing loss can help pinpoint the problem, and rule out other medical issues.

With the support of family, a person with hearing problems may be more able to accept the need to get hearing loss treatment, and may be ready to take the first steps to better hearing – a hearing test, and, if necessary, hearing aids. What a great gift to give a loved one (or yourself) this holiday season!

Avoid unnecessary frustrations this holiday season. Make your appointment by simply visiting our Contact page to request a free hearing test. We look forward to helping make your season free from struggles with hearing loss and full of joy!

Helping Caregivers Identify Hearing Symptoms of Hearing Loss – A List for Caregivers

In honor of National Caregivers Month this December, we are offering caregivers of all kinds a helpful list for the most common signs of hearing loss, as well as information about hearing loss treatment. Family members are often the first to recognize that a loved one has hearing loss, but the symptoms may appear gradually and be difficult to detect. Even professional caregivers can confuse the signs and symptoms of hearing loss with other conditions, missing opportunities for early diagnosis to minimize the long term impact of hearing problems.

Some of the most common indicators of hearing loss include:

  • Turning up the volume of the television or radio
  • Problems hearing the doorbell or the telephone ringing
  • Difficulty hearing people calling them from behind, or in another room
  • Asking people to repeat themselves frequently
  • Misunderstanding of “forgetting” what has been said or agreed upon
  • Cupping hands behind the ears

A person with normal hearing can hear quiet sounds, medium and loud sounds that vary from low pitch to high pitch. In speech, soft consonant sounds like T, S and F are higher pitched than strong vowel sounds such as A, E and I. With hearing loss, it is difficult to differentiate between these sounds, and speech becomes harder to comprehend and sounds garbled.

If you, a friend or family member are displaying any of these symptoms, we at Sherard Hearing Aid Center encourage you to take the simple  first step and visit us for a free hearing examination by submitting your information on our Contact page. Don’t miss out on the sounds you can be hearing.