Semin Hear 2013; 34(04): 308-330
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1356643
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Helping Older People with Cognitive Decline Communicate: Hearing Aids as Part of a Broader Rehabilitation Approach

M. Kathleen Pichora-Fuller
1  Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
2  The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada
3  Rotman Research Institute, Toronto, Canada
4  Linnaeus Centre HEAD, Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
,
Kate Dupuis
1  Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
2  The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada
5  Baycrest Health Sciences, Toronto, Canada
,
Marilyn Reed
5  Baycrest Health Sciences, Toronto, Canada
,
Ulrike Lemke
6  Phonak AG, Science and Technology, Stäfa, Switzerland
› Institutsangaben
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Publikationsverlauf

Publikationsdatum:
15. Oktober 2013 (online)

Abstract

There is a strong connection between hearing loss and cognitive impairment in old age. Dementia affects ∼10% of persons over the age of 65 years and increases in prevalence to 25 to 30% for persons older than 85 years. Hearing loss is even more prevalent, affecting roughly half of those over the age of 65 years and an increasing majority as age increases. Given these high prevalences, it is reasonable to assume that many older adults will have dual hearing and cognitive loss and that these losses will combine to affect individuals' everyday functioning, communication, social participation, and quality of life. Older adults with cognitive impairment may not receive adequate hearing care. Audiologic rehabilitation may help to optimize communication, which in turn may improve the individual's well-being directly as they engage more fully in activities of daily living. Maintaining communication also may confer indirect benefits to other aspects of the person's health and/or the health of their significant others. In the present article, we examine the continuum from healthy cognitive aging to dementia and review the literature concerning rehabilitation, the commonly overlooked brain connection, and the use of hearing aids by older adults with dementia. Directions for research and new practices are suggested.