No. of Recommendations: 7
<I just don't buy hearing loss aiding dementia. Correlations are constantly mixed with causation, and even correlation is mixed with the degree items are correlated. Isolation could be a factor, but what causes THAT level of isolation.>

I think that there are several possible causes for the correlation of hearing loss with dementia. It's more useful to try to sort them out than to try to force a one-size-fits-all.

There is absolutely no question that social isolation exacerbates dementia. This has been demonstrated conclusively by studies of large populations of elderly.

The human brain absolutely needs social stimulation. The statistical evidence between loneliness (subjective experience of isolation) and dementia is so convincing that I began to invite women friends over for tea regularly and deliberately developed several local, face-to-face friendships that hopefully will endure the test of time. If "Big Pharma" could develop an anti-dementia drug that was as effective as social interaction, it would be a blockbuster.

Severe hearing loss does cause social isolation. The effect may be gradual, but it is easily observed. First, you mentioned "fights" between you and your wife because she misheard or didn't hear what you said. Marriage is the most important social interaction.

If your wife's hearing loss is causing problems with you (who loves her the most), imagine what might happen with family, friends and co-workers. They might accidentally offend her because she misheard what they said. They might gradually lose interest in trying to communicate with her as her hearing worsens. I have some friends with hearing loss and our conversations are more difficult since I can't be sure how much of what I say they can hear. I have a neighbor who seems likeable and sociable but he can't hear so I don't bother trying to talk with him (though I do smile and give a treat to his dog).

As a person ages and his/her hearing gradually worsens, friends and family may gradually stop trying to socialize. Eventually, the person can be socially isolated because few will try to talk with them. They can feel lonely -- that is what can lead to dementia.

Many women are very sensitive to any implication that they are aging because society devalues older women. I think it's rather hard for men to understand just how emotionally vulnerable women are to the fear that they will become old and their husband will desert them. That's not vanity -- it's far deeper than vanity.

If you intend to convince your wife to admit her hearing loss and use her hearing aids, you have to (1) convince her that there is scientific evidence that they are essential to her long-term health and (2) you will love her regardless of her physical condition and (3) you will love her even more if you know that she can hear you when you whisper "sweet nothings."

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