November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

November is National Alzheimer's Awareness Month
Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A

Roughly 5.4 million people in the U.S. are suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, and as the Baby Boomer generation ages, that number continues to grow. If you’re worried about your brain health, take a moment to learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease, and discover how treating your hearing loss could be the best way to slow cognitive decline and keep your mind sharp for years to come.

National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and it’s the perfect time to learn more about this brain disease. Every November since 1983, organizations around the country have come together to raise awareness around dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, helping Americans recognize the signs and symptoms of the disease, and discussing ways of preventing or slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s. It’s a time to learn more about the brain, talk about prevention strategies, discover ways to keep the brain active and healthy, and find the resources and support you and your family needs.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s Disease, the most common form of dementia, is a degenerative brain disease that leads to memory loss, difficulty with reasoning and problem solving, and changes in mood and personality. It interferes with communication and places a strain on relationships. It’s also one of the leading causes of death among older Americans. As the disease progresses, brain cells are damaged or destroyed, and eventually Alzheimer’s reaches a point where it becomes impossible to perform basic tasks like getting dressed or feeding yourself.

Linking Hearing loss and Alzheimer’s Disease

What does hearing loss have to do with Alzheimer’s Disease? You might not realize it, but living with untreated hearing loss is having a big impact on your brain. Hearing loss leads to a lot of cell damage in the brain since auditory cells that aren’t receiving signals from the ears start to die. Due to this loss of cells, hearing loss is associated with rapid cognitive decline, and untreated hearing loss is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s. Those struggling to hear are far more likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and face even more brain damage.

Keeping Your Mind Active

One of the ways to protect yourself from dementia is to keep your brain active and healthy. We encourage everyone to start a new hobby, join a club, learn a new language, take music lessons, meet new people, or do anything else that challenges your mind and promotes greater communication! Keeping your mind sharp and challenging yourself every day reduces your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Why You Should Treat Your Hearing Loss

If you’re living with hearing loss, the thought of joining a club or making new friends is daunting. Hearing loss, just like Alzheimer’s disease, often leads to anxiety, social isolation, and depression. As your hearing worsens, you’re not able to communicate effectively, and your relationships with family and friends begins to suffer. You might still try to participate in conversations around the breakfast table, but when was the last time you met your friends for dinner? Are you worried about mishearing what’s been said, or answering inappropriately? The decision to stay home might seem like a good one at the time, but if you aren’t able to communicate with family and friends, and spend more time alone than with people, you’re using less of your brain and increasing your risk of Alzheimer’s.

Treating Hearing Loss

Not only does treating hearing loss improve your ability to communicate and keep you active and healthy, it’s also one of the first lines of defense against Alzheimer’s Disease. A quality pair of hearing aids will help you get back to doing the things you love and give you the courage to try new things. Modern hearing aids are so small they’re practically invisible, and with all the advanced programs and settings designed to help you hear in any listening environment, who wouldn’t want to give them a try?

Living with untreated hearing loss could cost you more than missing an occasional word here or there, and as the holiday season approaches, it’s time to give yourself the gift of good hearing and improved relationships. If you’re ready to do the right thing for your brain, visit us today at Professional Hearing Services to learn more about your hearing health and protect your brain from Alzheimer’s Disease.

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