S5E14: Can You Hear Me Now? Examining the Relationship of Hearing Loss to Dementia

In this Episode:

Transcript (click the “Transcript” tab)

  • 05:46 – Heart Healthy is also Brain Healthy
  • 13:57 – Recipe of the Week: Classic Spinach Quiche
  • 15:44 – What Does Research Say About Hearing Loss and Dementia, and Can Hearing Aids Slow it?
  • 38:51 – Don’t Wear Your Hearing Aids? You’re Not Alone
  • 48:59 – Outro

Why Should You Wear Your Hearing Aid?

Age-related hearing loss – which is the third leading cause of chronic disability in older adults – has been shown to be associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.

Hearing loss also causes worse health care professional–patient communication, more frequent hospitalization, more social isolation, functional declines, and falls. Hearing loss can be well-managed with hearing aids, yet most people refuse to wear them.

What are the parts of my auditory system?

  • Your auditory system (hearing system) consists of many different parts, including your: Outer ear, Middle ear, inner ear, and auditory nervous system.  Successful hearing requires all these parts to function properly.
The anatomy of the human ear with labels. We talk about hearing in this episode. https://every1dies.org
In this episode we talk about the importance of hearing and the relationship of hearing loss to dementia. Refer to the above image when Marianne describes the anatomy of the ear.

What Do I Need to Know About Hearing Loss?

  • About 38 percent of adults between the ages of 65 and 75 have age-related hearing loss—and this climbs to 54 percent in the years after that. Don’t wait to see an audiologist for an exam and treatment.

Is Hearing Loss Permanent?

  • The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural (permanent), but there are a few causes of hearing loss that can be curor surgery. See an audiologist for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

What foods will help me keep my hearing?

  • Fish, Citrus Fruits, Dark Green Veggies, Eggs, cantaloupes, bananas, dark chocolate, garlic, whole grains, milk

What Do I Need to Know About Hearing aids?

  • Hearing aids are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid, so you will have to pay for them if those are your only insurance. Despite price, they all work in the same way. If you go through an audiologist, they will usually bundle their services for one price (cost of hearing aid, fitting appointments, training on how to use, follow-up visits and repair. Big-box stores also sell these devices, so it makes sense to shop around.

Heart Healthy is also Brain Healthy

Eating a heart healthy diet will help more than your heart. Foods that are good for your brain, heart and lungs, specifically a diet rich in fruits, veggies, lean protein, grains and healthy fats helps maintain hearing. These foods are high in antioxidants and reduce inflammation in the body that can increase hearing problems. Listen to learn some tips to improve your diet.

We have a wonderful hearing-healthy recipe for classic spinach quiche by Maria Lichty. This classic Spinach Quiche has a buttery, flaky crust, a generous amount of spinach, onion, garlic, rich custard egg filling, and lots of melty Gruyère cheese.

A spinach quiche from Two Peas and Their Pod, displayed on a tabletop. It is perfect for brain and hearing health
Get this classic spinach quiche by Maria Lichty at Two Peas and Their Pod

Don’t Wear Your Hearing Aids? You’re Not Alone

If you have hearing aids, but put off wearing them, you’re not alone. Nearly 80% of Americans who could benefit from using their hearing aids won’t use them. Instead, they gather dust in drawers and containers. Listen for four reasons from Americans as to why people say they won’t wear their hearing aids.

But being connected with the world is important, as Marianne shared some of the impacts on the brain with social isolation. Loneliness and isolation are known contributors to risk of dementia, so it is worth fighting for a better fit or style to help you wear your hearing aids more.



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