THE GEEZER AND DEMENTIA????Posted: February 13, 2013
Am I a candidate for dementia? Or, do I just need to stop reading the news? When you read this, keep in mind that The Geezer has no hearing in one ear, even with a hearing aid; and only 30% in the other. However, with one expensive hearing aid, I can usually get by, although noisy restaurants are a bit of a problem. I am 72 and have been deaf for at least 20 years or so; whether I am demented, or about to become so, is open to argument.
The New York Times on February 12, 2013 has an interesting and scary article entitled “First Hearing Loss, Then Dementia,” by Katherine Bouton, who has written “Shouting Won’t Help: Why I — and 50 Million Other Americans — Can’t Hear You.” She cites Dr. Frank Lin who speculates on the correlation between hearing loss and Dementia. One risk factor was social isolation. Hearing aids apparently are not yet associated with lower risk for Dementia.
A couple of thoughts from the Geezer.
- Since my deafness was severe; resulting in a 17% disability to my body as a whole, hearing aids were not an option – I had to get them.
- Since I became deaf in my 50’s, I had no choice but to adapt and to use all sorts of compensating techniques in order to communicate; some worked and some didn’t. Maybe the ability to adapt will help me avoid Dementia; or, maybe not……
- I noticed, once I became deaf, that a lot of people around me were as deaf, or deafer than I was, but refused to wear hearing aids.
- The noisy rooms at hotels don’t bother me as I sleep without hearing aids.
- The most important thing is that if I hadn’t gone deaf, I would still be doing bankruptcies, and would not have spent seven of the last ten years volunteering in Eastern Europe, an experience probably worth the deafness; not totally sure, but I think so.
This said, I enjoyed the article, hope to read the book, and am not going to worry about Dementia too much, as I think Dementia is not so much a problem for the demented, as it is for those who have to care for them. However, as a backup, there is an article in the same Science Section of the New York Times entitled: “Fitness May Prevent Dementia.”
Time for The Geezer to take his daily walk , hit the fitness center, adjust my hearing aids, and review my long-term-care policy.
This blog may support the thesis that there is a correlation between deafness and Dementia, at least in The Geezer’s case; who knows?