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Utah: 435-688-8991 Nevada: 702-896-0031

An Audiologist’s Role in Dementia Screenings

An Audiologist's Role in Dementia Screenings
Part of what makes dementia an uncomfortable condition to think about for most people is the fact that the cognitive decline happens gradually. With this gradual occurrence, it is easy for people to ascribe symptoms of dementia to simple forgetfulness.

But, with the help of our audiologists at Hearing & Balance Doctors, you can have extra assistance in screening for dementia.

Connection Between Hearing Loss And Dementia

It may seem odd that our doctors of audiology are able to help screen for dementia, but it makes more sense when you understand the connection between hearing loss and dementia.

As more research is done to learn about dementia, researchers are finding that hearing loss is a significant risk factor which increases a person’s risk of developing dementia. Why exactly hearing loss can lead to dementia isn’t entirely clear, but there are some potential reasons which point to some compelling factors.

  • Hearing loss is isolating. When you cannot hear others clearly, it can be frustrating and embarrassing to always have to ask, “Can you say that again?” Instead of doing this, many people with untreated hearing loss isolate themselves. However, this social isolation can contribute to dementia, as our brains need to engage socially with others.
  • Damage to the auditory system can cause brain changes. After hearing loss has happened, the overall auditory system takes a hit, making it harder to transmit information to the brain. As the brain is used to receiving more input from the auditory system, the corresponding brain structures can degrade. These changes in the brain are also associated with dementia.
  • Dementia may be masked by hearing loss. As some of the symptoms of hearing loss can overlap with dementia, a person may miss that they are developing dementia and may just dismiss it as simple hearing loss.

An Audiologist Can Catch Changes In Communication

It can be difficult to even consider that you may be at risk for developing dementia. Also, without seeing a physician or psychologist who specializes in memory issues, it may be hard to catch the early stages of cognitive decline. That’s where an audiologist can help.

By having an in-depth hearing evaluation with our doctors of audiology once a year, the communication issues associated with dementia can be screened for. This screen happens naturally as part of the hearing evaluation, where our doctors of audiology check for speech recognition and understanding.

To have our doctors of audiologists’ help in screening for hearing loss and potential dementia symptoms, contact us to set up an appointment. We are ready to help you achieve the best quality of life possible.

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