Tag Archives: hearing loss

Hearing aids to be available over the counter

In what many consider to be a long overdue move, by this fall Americans will be able to buy hearing aids over the counter at pharmacies and drug stores. This will make getting a hearing aid a more affordable and convenient experience.

Hearing loss is considered a risk factor for dementia. While the connection is not fully understood yet, researchers believe that hearing loss may impair cognitive function in a variety of ways. A Johns Hopkins study is underway right now to determine if hearing aids reduce the risk of cognitive decline in senior adults. Results from the study are expected in 2023.

My father suffered from hearing loss around the same time he began to first show signs of dementia. Not being able to hear properly can have a negative impact on social interactions, which can also increase the risk of dementia.

Hearing is often something we take for granted but just like with vision, it’s important to note any changes and address issues promptly. Just like you can purchase a pair of reading glasses at your local pharmacy or drug store, soon hearing aids will also be available. Some medical experts are concerned that skipping a customized hearing aid fitting could have unintended consequences, such as not properly addressing a hearing loss issue. One should consult with their doctor if an OTC hearing aid fails to address their hearing loss but providing consumers more affordable and readily available options is an important step forward.

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash.

2 Comments

Filed under Awareness & Activism

Connection between hearing loss and dementia?

One topic I’ve seen latelyin the world of dementia news is that hearing loss could be a symptom of dementia. There is growing evidence suggesting that hearing loss speeds up cognitive decline in the elderly. Doctors think there may be a mental and physical component. Physically, the brain has to direct extra resources to help with hearing problems and emotionally, people become more socially isolated as their hearing loss becomes more profound.

hearing aid

Dad did experience fairly significant hearing loss in the years before his dementia symptoms appeared. Mom suspected Dad was just using hearing loss as a way to tune her out, and I could see that as being a real possibility! But now I wonder if Dad’s hearing loss was the first sign of a much more serious health issue.

I think it would be a good idea if dementia screening became routine for elderly patients that complain of hearing loss. Many of the dementia screening tests are non-invasive, painless and quick to perform. Early diagnosis usually means more treatment options.

1 Comment

Filed under Awareness & Activism