Hearing loss and Alzheimer’s: some startling comparisons

Maria Menconi

In a visit to a doctor’s office recently, I saw a startling poster on the wall. It was entitled “Untreated Hearing Loss and Alzheimer’s Disease”. I was shocked to see the symptom similarities between the two. For example, symptoms of an untreated hearing loss include depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation, while symptoms of Alzheimer’s include depression, anxiety and disorientation. An untreated hearing loss may reveal reduced communication ability and reduced cognitive input, while Alzheimer’s patients may demonstrate reduced language comprehension and impaired memory, particularly short-term memory. A person with hearing loss might demonstrate denial, heightened defensiveness, negativity, and distrust. Similarly, a person with Alzheimer’s could also demonstrate these same symptoms. In short, since an untreated hearing loss is isolating, confusing, and has nearly the same warning signs as Alzheimer’s disease, having an easily available hearing test could help you or a loved one tremendously!

If you would like to learn more about hearing loss, there are events happening right here in SaddleBrooke to assist you. First is SaddleBrooke’s inaugural Hearing Night Out. Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, at 7 p.m. in the MountainView Ballroom East. Our featured speaker is Dr. Fadyeh Barakat, an audiologist and clinical instructor at the University of Arizona Hearing Clinic.

Fadyeh Barakat completed her Bachelors in Psychology, Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling, and her Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Arizona. For the last six years, Dr. Barakat has and continues to provide audiologic services to veterans at the Southern Arizona Veteran’s Hospital. She has acted as a preceptor for audiology doctoral students in the past and is currently a clinical instructor at the University Hearing Clinic. She also facilitates a student-run adult aural rehabilitation group, Living Well with Hearing Loss, that provides education and support for individuals with hearing loss and their communication partners.

Prior to our Hearing Night Out, please plan to join us, for one of our Peer Discussion Group for Better Hearing meetings. This is a caring environment where people can ask questions and share information about hearing loss and the solutions they have found for themselves. All are welcome at these sessions and many of our participants who have a hearing loss have attended with those who support them. The meetings are held at the MountainView Bistro Building in SaddleBrooke (specific room assignments are below):

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019: Ballroom West, 10 a.m.-noon

Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019: Saguaro Room, 10 a.m.-noon

Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020: Saguaro Room, 1-3 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020: Saguaro Room, 1-3 p.m.

If you have questions or would like more information please contact Jennifer Jefferis, jenjefferis4u@gmail.com, 360-909-6212 or Dick and Judy Kroese at judykroese@yahoo.com, 520-360-5789. If you are a hearing professional, an audiologist or an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist, living in SaddleBrooke, we invite you to join us and support us with your professional knowledge and ideas.