Dementia and Hearing Aids

Unitron wrote an article with preliminary findings by them and the University of North Texas that suggest an enhanced role for hearing healthcare professionals in the treatment of Dementia. My 30 plus years in the hearing industry has shown me that hearing aids improve the quality of life for my patients suffering from dementia. I personally can attest to the dramatic improvements that hearing aids can make for the patient and the family. All those who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s should have a hearing evaluation. Below is the article as posted by Unitron on February 4, 2015

Early findings in a new study by the University of North Texas and Unitron, a global innovator of advanced hearing solutions, suggests that the quality of life is improved in impaired listeners diagnosed with moderate dementia by treating hearing loss with hearing aids, as well as the quality of life of the caregiver. The study is being conducted by Amyn M. Amlani, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of North Texas, in partnership with Brian Taylor, Au.D., Director of Practice Development and Clinical Affairs at Unitron.

Researchers have already been able to show some improvement in cognitive ability among participants using hearing aids, suggesting new therapeutic potential for the devices. If conclusive, the findings could enhance the role of hearing healthcare professionals in rehabilitating patients diagnosed with cognitive decline in relation to his or her hearing. 
“This study looks at whether improved hearing can improve cognitive functioning for people who have already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia,” said Dr. Amlani. “In particular, we want to understand whether better hearing can play a role in helping people with dementia lead more active and engaged lives, particularly if hearing loss is identified and treated early.”

Previous studies have found that people with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time compared to those with normal hearing. But no data yet exists showing that dementia can actually be improved through the use of hearing aids. 
“Given the expected sharp increase in dementia cases over the next few decades, our findings could have significant implications for aging individuals as they begin experiencing hearing loss,” said Taylor. “Unitron is focused on providing solutions for healthcare providers so they can better serve their patients, and get them the treatment they need.”
The study includes adults 50-90 years’ of age with moderate dementia who are inexperienced with amplification devices. It measures speech-recognition performance in noise, cognition and self-reported improvements in quality of life. The study is expected to be completed in late 2015.

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