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Hearing loss may increase dementia risk

During September’s World Alzheimer’s Month, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. is raising awareness across Central Kootenay of many aspects of dementia, including brain health and risk reduction.

According to a national public opinion survey by the Public Health Agency of Canada conducted last year, 89 per cent of Canadians can identify at least one risk factor for developing dementia yet only 16 per cent are aware that hearing loss is a factor.

Mild levels of hearing loss may increase the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Though it is still unclear how exactly it affects cognitive decline, hearing loss can lead to social isolation, loss of independence, and problems with everyday activities.

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. has invited clinical neuropsychologist Kate Dupuis to explain the connections between hearing loss and dementia at a September 22 webinar. Nelson and other Central Kootenay residents who watch will hear about potential treatment options and strategies for individuals experiencing hearing loss. They’ll also learn how care partners can advocate for and support people living with dementia in accessing hearing care.

What can you do to reduce the risk of developing dementia?

Have annual hearing evaluations.

  • Avoid listening to music too loudly.
  • Avoid being continually exposed to loud sounds.
  • Ask your doctor to check for earwax buildup. If you have buildup, your doctor will be able to help you remove it.
  • Make sure you use hearing aids if hearing becomes a problem.
  • Check batteries and fit of hearing aids regularly.

The “Understanding the connections between hearing loss and dementia” webinar is on Wednesday, September 22 at 2 p.m. PT.

To register visit alzbc.org/webinars.

The Society’s “Lived experience” webinar series is back this month. Join two creative people who are living with dementia for an exploration of the role of art and creativity in living well. The session takes place on Wednesday, September 29 at 2 p.m PT. Register here: alzbc.org/webinars.

To learn about other topics related to dementia, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. invites you to sign up for one of its free webinars. Upcoming webinars include:

  • Question café: Responding to questions about dementia (Wednesday, October 6, 2 p.m. PT): Grab a coffee and join the panel discussion to answer some of the frequently asked questions.
  • Long-distance caregiving (Wednesday, October 13, 2 p.m. PT): This session will go through practical tips on providing meaningful caregiving support from a distance.

To register for any of these webinars, please visit alzbc.org/webinars.

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is here to help

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is committed to ensuring that people affected by dementia have the confidence and skills to live the best life possible. First Link® dementia support is the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s suite of programs and services designed to help them. First Link® is available throughout the progression of the disease, from diagnosis (or before) to end-of-life care.

Connect to First Link® by asking your health-care provider for a referral or by calling the First Link® Dementia Helpline at 1-800-936-6033. The Helpline is available Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Information and support is also available in Punjabi (1-833-674-5003) and in Cantonese or Mandarin (1-833-674-5007), available Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Photo Caption: Clinical neuropsychologist Kate Dupuis will explain the connections between hearing loss and dementia at a September 22 webinar. — Submitted