Hearing impairment is common and increases with age, with approximately two thirds of adults aged 75 years or older estimated to have a hearing problem that adversely impacts communication. The high prevalence of hearing impairment is particular cause for concern as there is growing evidence that it could increase the risk of dementia.
In a 2020 Lancet Commission report on dementia prevention, hearing loss was identified as 1 of 12 major, modifiable risk factors for dementia.[i]
Investigators examining speech in noise hearing impairment found that it is independently associated with incident dementia, providing further evidence for hearing impairment as a potential modifiable dementia risk factor, and suggested that it is plausible that hearing aid use may attenuate this association. Longitudinal studies investigating whether hearing aid use influences dementia risk in those with hearing impairment have yielded inconsistent findings, but the research referenced here found that the association between hearing impairment and dementia risk was largely attenuated in those who wore hearing aids.[ii]
How Common is Dementia in Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s dementia is diagnosed if the onset of dementia occurs a year or more after the onset of motor symptoms. If symptoms of dementia appear before or at the same time as symptoms of Parkinson’s, it is called dementia with Lewy bodies
Dementia is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, so all patients with AD have dementia, but this is NOT true of all patients with PD.
Advanced age, being male, having hallucinations, family history of dementia, and older age at onset of PD diagnosis are all risk factors. There is no single test for PDD. The diagnosis is made clinically. Cognitive impairments in PDD, combined with the movement symptoms of the disease, are reported to produce a greater impact on social and occupational functioning than Alzheimer’s.[i] An untreated hearing loss can further impact cognitive and communicative functioning and quality of life.
If you or someone you spend time is suspected of a hearing loss or notices cognitive changes, it’s important to discuss them with your neurologist or primary care physician and request a referral to the appropriate professionals for additional assessement.
[i] Parkinson’s Foundation https://www.parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons/Symptoms/Non-Movement-Symptoms/Dementia/FAQs
[ii] Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commissions | Volume 396, ISSUE 10248, P413-446, August 08, 2020
[iii] Speech-in-noise hearing impairment is associated with an increased risk of incident dementia in 82,039 UK Biobank participants. Jonathan S. Stevenson, Lei Clifton, Elżbieta Kuźma, Thomas J. Littlejohns. Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. https://doi.org/10.1002/alz.12416
(Feature image: Andrea Piacquadio Pexels)
RMT (Respiratory Muscle Training) Kit is Back in Stock
The Voice Aerobics RMT Accessories Kit combines the components you need to turn your respiratory muscle trainer into a feedback device for enhanced performance, and can be used with the Breather, Breather FIT and EMST-150 for those patients who benefit from visual feedback. Patients report: “It really helps me do the exercises!”
What is included*
- 22mm connector
- Tubing (and 1 replacement tubing)
- 0-60 Manometer
*All are single patient use and latex free.
*The Breather® respiratory muscle strength trainer is sold separately.
*The manometer can help guide resistance levels and provide targeted feedback helping you benefit from using YOUR BEST EFFORT!
Purchase here: https://voiceaerobicsdvd.com/product/rmt-accessory-kit/
Join Me March 26, 2022 Neuro Challenge Parkinson EXPO
Register at: https://www.neurochallenge.org/
My Mission: To enlist individuals in their treatment, and help them express their personality & spirit through voice. To educate and empower. Mary Spremulli, MA, CCC-SLP * FiTOUR® Group Exercise Instructor * Voice Aerobics® A Whole Body Approach to Voice Practice