Is your loved one dealing with Alzheimer’s and hearing loss? Here’s now you can help.

Alzheimer’s and hearing loss often go hand in hand. A study done by the U.S. National Institute on Aging and Johns Hopkins University found that patients 60 and older with a hearing loss were 35 percent more likely to develop dementia than those without a hearing loss. In fact, for every additional hearing loss of 10 decibels, a patient’s risk for Alzheimer’s increased about 20 percent.

Not only are dementia and hearing loss linked; there’s mounting evidence that treating hearing loss can slow the rate of cognitive decline. A recent study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that individuals with untreated hearing loss experience cognitive decline at a significantly faster rate than their peers. Simply by seeking treatment, study participants slowed their rate of cognitive decline by an astonishing 75 percent.

The take away for family members and loved ones is clear; for those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, testing for and treating hearing loss early can keep them alert and engaged for as long as possible.

Here are some tips to help make the hearing care journey easier:

1. Look for easy-to-use devices. Today’s hearing aids come in all shapes and sizes. Look for styles that are simple to put on and require limited dexterity. Ask your audiologist about fully-automatic devices with verified fitting, which can automatically adjust to create an improved sound experience.

2. Skip removable batteries. More and more devices are coming equipped with rechargeable batteries, eliminating the need to purchase and replace tiny batteries every few days. These devices can simply be set within a charging station each night, giving your loved one a consistent place to store their devices so they can find them easily in the morning.

3. Educate caregivers on hearing device care. Ask your audiologist for easy-to-follow instructions that can be placed around your loved one’s home so anyone involved in their care can assist them in hearing device maintenance. Ensure that all caregivers understand the vital link that hearing devices play in slowing cognitive decline.

4. Draw attention to sounds. Work with your loved one on paying attention to the sounds around them. Listening for bird calls, paying attention to sounds in their home, or listening to music can help keep their brain engaged with their hearing and the world around them.

5. Keep scheduled clean and check appointments. These are important for ensuring the device is working properly, keeping ears clean and free of debris, and allowing your audiologist to make any adjustments that are needed.

To learn more about caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s, or to schedule an appointment to get their hearing tested, contact Central Florida Hearing Services at (863) 386-9111. With more than 30 years in the Sebring area, you can trust that your loved one will be in good hands.