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Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC,

Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

CLINICAL TOOLS

Abstract: Dementia and hearing loss are both prevalent in older people. Until relatively recently there was little appreciation of their possible interconnection in terms of cause, effect and relationship between the two conditions other than perhaps the dictum—”if you can’t hear it you can not remember it”. It has now become apparent that there is a more defined relationship in terms of possible causality or at least partial patho-physiological association which makes it more important to define hearing loss early on and address it as part of the strategy to decrease the risk of dementia.
Key Words: Alzheimer’s disease, hearing loss, symptoms
Do not discount hearing loss as part of assessment of the range of cognitive impairment and dementia.
Look for appropriate strategies to address hearing loss in elders with early cognitive impairment who may shun standard hearings aids—use the simpler Pocketalker (R) which may fulfil the important goal of enhancing hearing and communication.
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