Once again, the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is participating in National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in November by highlighting the importance of hearing health to people with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers.
Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Today, an estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and they are supported by nearly 15 million caregivers. Alzheimer’s disease is now the sixth-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. Studies also have shown that the use of hearing aids can help individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease. At the same time, research shows that although a significantly higher percentage of people 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.
For these reasons, BHI is 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.
It is extremely important that a comprehensive hearing assessment be part of any Alzheimer’s diagnosis and that the hearing health community advocate for such an assessment on these individuals’ behalf. We also urge caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease to address their own hearing health, recognizing the negative impact that untreated hearing loss can have on their own quality of life and emotional well-being.
There are several ways you can participate in National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Here are just some ideas:
- Organize a hearing screening in your community, perhaps at a local nursing home or senior center, in recognition of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.
- Host an Alzheimer’s informational session for your patients.
- Disseminate Alzheimer’s and hearing health information within your practice and local community.
- Use various tools available from the Alzheimer’s Association to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s in your community. www.actionalz.org/AEDAChampions/brochure.asp
- Include an article on Alzheimer’s disease in your practice Newsletter or on your website. http://www.actionalz.org/AEDAChampions/articles.asp
- Publish one of BHI's customizable articles on Alzheimer’s disease. This would include either a press release or opinion editorial (see 2011 Alzheimer's Awareness Month Campaign).
- Send information through listservs.
- Hang posters in prominent locations such as your office, library, local mall, or church. http://www.actionalz.org/AEDAChampions/poster.asp
For more information, please go to www.alz.org.