BHI Joins Alzheimer's Association Early Detection Alliance

November 1, 2010


noneThe Better Hearing Institute is now a “Champion” member of the Alzheimer’s Association Early Detection Alliance (AEDA). For the first time, we are participating in National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, which is recognized every year throughout November.

Studies have shown that the use of hearing aids can help Alzheimer’s patients. Because there is a strong link between hearing loss and cognitive function, we're encouraging hearing health professionals across the country to join us in raising awareness of this heart-wrenching disease, its early warning signs, and the related implications of unaddressed hearing loss.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and fatal brain disease that destroys brain cells, causing memory loss and problems with thinking and behavior. Today, there are as many as 5.3 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. And it is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States.  (Source: Alzheimer’s Association)

There is strong evidence that hearing impairment contributes to the progression of cognitive dysfunction in older adults. What’s more, there are overlaps in some of the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s and hearing loss—such as seeming changes in communication and language skills, inappropriate responses, depression, and denial. Studies also have shown that although a significantly higher percentage of patients with Alzheimer’s disease may have hearing loss than their normally aging peers, they are much less likely to receive attention for their hearing needs.

It is extremely important, therefore, that a comprehensive hearing assessment be part of any Alzheimer’s diagnosis and that the hearing health community advocate for such an assessment on individuals’ behalf. Research has shown that reliable objective measures of hearing loss can be obtained from people with dementia.

If hearing loss is found to coexist with Alzheimer’s, studies have shown that patients with the disease can use and benefit from hearing aids. In fact, studies have shown that the use of hearing aids, especially in combination with appropriate aural rehabilitation in a multidisciplinary setting, has helped to reduce Alzheimer’s patients’ symptoms of depression, passivity, negativism, disorientation, anxiety, social isolation, feelings of helplessness, loss of independence and general cognitive decline.

The relationship between an individual living with Alzheimer’s and his or her caregiver is particularly unique. For this reason, BHI also advocates for comprehensive hearing assessments for caregivers. Maximizing the ability to hear for both the Alzheimer’s patient and caregiver can help address some of the inherent stresses involved in home care.

National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month was first recognized in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan and is organized each year by the Alzheimer's Association.

BHI sees our participation in National Alzheimer's Awareness Month as an important step in raising awareness and addressing the hearing health needs of people with Alzheimer's. We believe that by easing the additional strain that unaddressed hearing loss places on people with Alzheimer's, their families, and caregivers, we can make a meaningful difference in their lives.

There are several ways you can participate in National Alzheimer's Awareness Month. Here are just some ideas:

For more information please go to http://www.alz.org/news_and_events_nadam.asp