A Hearing Aid Could Actually Counteract Dementia

“She/he can’t hear a word I say!” It drives family members crazy. Everyone knows someone with hearing loss and it is no joke. Two-thirds of adults over 70 have hearing loss and now we have concrete evidence that it may contribute to dementia. Older adults with hearing loss have a rate of cognitive decline up to 40% faster than the rate in those with normal hearing. And…it’s fixable.

Think of it this way: when listening is more challenging our brains must work harder to understand what has been said. It is this increased demand that may lead to early dementia. There are also long-term changes in the brain when it is deprived of auditory information.

Dementia and cognitive decline are a huge issue going forward with our aging population. Hearing loss is a risk factor for dementia, and it’s fixable, so why not go full on after it. Hearing aids can have an impact on quality of life and possibly improve cognition yet many older adults remain resistant to using them. Why is that?

Hearing aids allow older adults to communicate more effectively and change their lives by allowing them to engage socially. Other than cost (and they are expensive,) there is certainly no downside to hearing aid use.

Hearing aids. Just do it.

- Dr. O

File under: In the News


Dr. Sharon Orrange

Dr. Orrange received her BA in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters Degree in Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She received her MD from the USC/Keck School of Medicine and completed residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Currently, Dr. Orrange is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the USC/Keck School of Medicine. Dr. Orrange spends part of her time as the Attending Physician for medical students and residents during their medicine rotations at LA County-USC Medical Center and USC University Hospital. She also has an active private practice in General Internal Medicine and is board certified in Internal Medicine.

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