Article from the August 13, 2019 edition of the Pilot News
Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. have been on a hearing health roll here lately with their The YOU Docs column. (See Right) I mentioned one of their articles in my last post and here they are again, with a column titled, “Can allergies affect your hearing?” that appeared in the The Pilot News last Tuesday, August 13th. As the article states, clogged Eustachian tubes can have several causes… all of which are better addressed sooner than later as they can lead to more serious problems. The YOU Docs article ended with a suggestion to see your Audiologist for a hearing test when you feel something is off and then, “Remember, hearing is important to long-term cognitive functioning.”; something I’ve been preaching a lot about lately!
As suggested here, as an Audiologist, I do much more than just provide and service hearing aids. My advanced degree (Doctor of Audiology) is a testament to the rigorous training I have pursued in the field of Audiology. My primary focus is your hearing health, with hearing aids being just one aspect of that care. While I am not a Medical Doctor, I am trained to recognize health issues which warrant a referral to a qualified M.D. I maintain relationships with many qualified Doctors to which I can refer you.
Many of my clients have migrated to my practice from hearing aid dispensers. They are often surprised by the additional depths of analysis I regularly provide. There are important differences, which I am happy to discuss.
I wrote about this topic last October in a post called Hearing Aid use can Slow Cognitive Decline in Older Adults. An article in The Pilot News yesterday by Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D., titled “Now hear this — and keep dementia at bay“, reiterates the point and prompted me to discuss the issue again. Per the article, when you address your hearing loss and wear your hearing aids, “You strengthen your connection to the outside world and protect your brainpower.” The article cites a study that shows that, “Getting a hearing aid as soon as you start to lose acuity is an important way to reduce your risk of Dementia.”
I found another good article on this topic here: Dementia and Cognitive Decline – the hidden risks of hearing loss
While I haven’t done clinical studies, I can speak to the the huge change I see in some patients once they regain hearing through new hearing aids. I’ve had nursing home clients brought in with their attendant telling me they are non-responsive. Some of these clients light up when they are able to hear again and participate with the world around them. More than one “grumpy old man” has become my friend after we are able to communicate… When these things happen, I’m reminded why I love my job!
Don’t accept cognitive decline as inevitable or just part of growing old. If hearing loss is a contributing factor, see your Doctor of Audiology (Me!) and find out if there is something that can be done to help!
It should be common sense that untreated hearing loss and the associated isolation would exacerbate cognitive decline, but a study was completed on behalf of the SENSE‐Cog WP1 group and reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 66, Issue 6, June 2018 provides backup data. The conclusion: “Hearing aids may have a mitigating effect on trajectories of cognitive decline in later life. Providing hearing aids or other rehabilitative services for hearing impairment much earlier in the course of hearing impairment may stem the worldwide rise of dementia.”
Note that it also says that addressing this earlier provides the best effect. Just another reason proper hearing health care is important to your quality of life. Don’t forget that changes in your hearing can also be indicators of other issues. As your Audiologist, I can help with these issues, and if necessary, direct you to other health care professionals with advanced skills in these areas.