Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lose Your Hearing, Lose Your Mind!

The Devastating Link Between 
Hearing Loss and Dementia

While researching for a blog post I was writing about Better Hearing and Speech Month, I ran across a DIY hearing test. My eyes nearly popped out of my head! How in the world can you test your own hearing?

Come to find out, it was ASHA, our national professional organization, that published the test.  I clicked on the link and found this…

It’s a self-administered test that can be used as an initial screen to determine if you or your child needs an audiologic evaluation.

Try it out. Click on the pop-out icon for a printable version of the test.

While the name “test” kind of tricked me, it certainly got my attention, and that’s exactly what we, as professionals, are trying to do. We want to get your attention and help you understand that hearing loss is a serious issue.

Now, I’m not trying to sell you a hearing aid and I’m not receiving any referral bonuses from an audiologist, but I wanted to point out the consequences of hearing impairment.

Take a look…

In children, hearing loss is associated with:

·       Developmental delays in speech and language skills
·       Learning problems
·       Reduced academic performance
·       Social isolation
·       Poor self concept

If your kids are anything like mine, don’t be alarmed that your teenage sons have bombed this test. My three did!  No one ever seems to be able to hear me when I’m asking for help in the kitchen. No one seems able to follow my directions for folding laundry.  “Huh?” is the typical response when I ask why their beds were not made and, when they finally come up with an answer, two of them mumble.

Hearing loss?  No way! Believe me, they hear just fine. So, of course, you must assess your results carefully for children between the ages of 13 and 15… at least that’s what I did. (I think you know what I mean)

All kidding aside, for toddlers, preschoolers and school aged children, this is an excellent screening tool, and any “yes” responses should be carefully considered.

Maybe you're not worried about your child's hearing, but you probably know an adult with hearing difficulties. In fact,  48 million Americans have a significant hearing loss. That's troubling because...

In adults, hearing loss is linked to:

·       Mental decline
·       Accelerated brain tissue loss
·       Memory loss
·       Impaired cognitive function
·       Social isolation
·       Dementia
·       Alzheimer’s disease

Oh yeah, if that’s not bad enough, research has proven that, in adults, the risk for developing these problems escalates as the hearing loss grows worse. Yikes! 

Bottom line:  people with hearing loss not only get confused during conversation, they eventually just become confused. So, raise your hand if you're ready to see an audiologist about your hearing difficulties, but don't put it off because...losing your hearing could mean losing your mind.

Blindness cuts us off from things. Deafness cuts us off from people.
Helen Keller