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World Alzheimer’s Month: Knowing the 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s


Terri Ellert, HIS

Terri has been in practice as a Board-Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist for the past 11 years and is a co-founder of the Hearing Centers of Arizona.
Terri Ellert, HIS

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World Alzheimer's Month: Knowing the 10 Signs of Alzheimer's

This month draws our attention to Alzheimer’s disease, a devastating cognitive disorder with mysterious causes. There is much left to learn about the disorder, but a striking connection has been discovered between hearing loss and dementia, more generally. In honor of this month of awareness, it is important to know the ten signs of Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) provides a useful list of the early warning signs of the disease. Be aware of your friends and loved ones in these ways to be on the lookout.

Memory Loss: Of course, memory loss is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, and significant memory loss that gets in the way of the activities of daily life is one of the clearest early warning signs of the disease.

Problem Solving: Another aspect of Alzheimer’s is difficulty or an inability to solve problems or to follow a plan, particularly when these problems have to do with numbers.

Familiar Tasks: Difficulty completing familiar tasks that were once easy to do may be an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s.

Time and Place Confusion: Significant confusion with time and place, such as dates, seasons, or years, may be a sign.

Spatial Relationships: Vision problems can be a sign of Alzheimer’s, including trouble reading, judging distances, focusing on images, and determining colors.

Language: Trouble with conversation, linking words together, repetition, or naming things may be a sign, as well.

Losing Objects: Although we all misplace things from time to time, significant problems losing objects, as well as the inability to retrace one’s steps to find the objects, may be related to dementia.

Judgment: General problems with judgment may take place, including dealing with money or misunderstanding how to care for oneself in the ways that used to be familiar.

Social Withdrawal: A common sign of Alzheimer’s is the tendency to withdraw from social relationships and events that were once exciting or enjoyable.

Mood and Personality: Sudden unexplainable changes in mood can be a sign of Alzheimer’s, as can changes in personality traits such as becoming suspicious, anxious, or easily upset.

It is important to keep in mind that these signs are not a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. All people suffer lapses of memory, judgment, or understanding from time to time. It is also common for these cognitive changes to occur among people as they get older, apart from the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s whatsoever. However, when these traits occur in concert, they are a good reason to seek cognitive testing and support. Early detection of Alzheimer’s can lead to treatment options that extend the about of time we can live independently and that can ease some of the symptoms, as well.

Hearing Loss and Alzheimer’s Disease

Although hearing loss is not an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s, it does have a strong statistical link with the disease. Those who have hearing loss are 24% more likely to develop a form of dementia, and the speed of cognitive decline is linked to the speed of hearing decline, as well. You might ask why this relationship exists, but doctors and researchers are still trying to understand the connection between dementia and hearing loss. Many believe that the brain struggles to put together fragmented information when hearing is difficult, leading to a greater cognitive load and missteps in logical connections between elements. If you have hearing loss it may lead the brain to struggle, and that struggle opens up the mind to cognitive failures, including dementia.

If you have hearing loss, you do not need to run to your doctor for cognitive testing! On the contrary, the experience of hearing loss should lead you to us at Hearing Centers of Arizona to have your hearing tested and to seek treatment options.

The current state of cognitive science is unclear when it comes to the preventative effect of hearing aids on the onset of Alzheimer’s, but hearing assistance can improve your life in many other ways. In addition to making it more enjoyable to engage socially, hearing aids can put together fragmented pieces of information you receive from the outside world. Prior to hearing assistance, you may feel like you were trying to put together the pieces of a puzzle without having all of them in the box. Hearing assistance can solve this problem, giving you the tools you need to understand the world around you easily and clearly.

Contact us at Hearing Centers of Arizona today to schedule a hearing test.

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