Best Hearing Aids for Alzheimer’s Patients

Our experts reviewed the industry’s best hearing aids and narrowed down the list to their top picks for Alzheimer’s patients.

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According to Alzheimers.gov, hearing loss may affect cognition and dementia risk in older adults and can make it harder to interact with others.1 The combination of hearing loss and dementia may magnify your loved one’s feelings of confusion and frustration. This certainly creates a unique challenge for family members and caregivers as consideration must be given to the person’s level of hearing loss and severity of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed in choosing the best hearing aid for your loved one, know that you’re not alone! We’re here to guide you through the process. Below, we’ll cover the top hearing aids for dementia patients and important tips to keep in mind when purchasing a dementia-friendly hearing aid. Communication is key, so we’ll also identify optimal ways to communicate when your loved one has hearing loss and dementia.

How We Chose the Best Hearing Aids for Seniors With Alzheimer’s

The number of hearing aids on the market can make it tough to choose the best hearing aid for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia. To help you make the best decision possible, we’ve compiled a list of the top providers that outshine the competition. To do this, we evaluated criteria including ease of use, battery life, price point, and dementia-friendly features.

Are Hearing Loss and Dementia Related?

There is an undeniable connection between hearing loss and dementia. A multiyear brain scan study by Johns Hopkins Medicine revealed hearing loss might contribute to a faster rate of atrophy in the brain.7 If you suspect your loved one is experiencing hearing loss (even if it appears to be mild), a hearing exam is critical to maintaining and maximizing hearing health.

Common risk factors for dementia are family history, age, and the effects of strokes. However, individuals and their caregivers may be surprised to find that hearing loss is estimated to account for eight percent of dementia cases. This means that hearing loss may be responsible for 800,000 of the nearly 10 million new cases of dementia diagnosed each year.8

Tips for Choosing Dementia-Friendly Hearing Aids

There are several key features to consider when choosing a hearing aid for seniors with dementia. As you research the best hearing aid for your loved one’s needs, keep these benefits in mind.

Hearing aid feature Dementia-friendly benefit
Long battery life This reduces the challenge of remembering to change or recharge batteries.
Medical alert notifications Hearing loss and dementia can make your loved one more susceptible to falls. Built-in medical alert features enable family members to be notified immediately.
Dexterity-friendly Ensure ease of adjusting hearing aids by avoiding models with small buttons.
Protection plan Protection plans safeguard your loved one’s hearing aid investment from accidental damage (for example, water damage) or loss.
Tinnitus relief Tinnitus may heighten memory problems, anxiety, and irritability.9 Hearing aids with tinnitus relief help reduce symptoms like ringing or buzzing in the ears.
Water-resistant technology Your loved one may not always remember to take their hearing aids out before showering. Water-resistant and waterproof technology helps protect the aids from shorting out.
Background noise suppression Directional microphones help reduce distracting noises. This is especially helpful if your loved one participates in group memory care activities or spends time in noisy or busy settings.

Best Ways to Communicate With Individuals With Hearing Loss and Dementia

First and foremost, patience is essential. Your loved one is living with two health challenges, and some days will be better than others. Improve connecting with your loved one by using these five communication tools:

  • Arrange routine hearing tests: Consistent testing (either online hearing tests or in-person at the audiologist) ensures your loved one is receiving the appropriate support for their level of hearing loss.
  • Get the person’s attention: Say their name or touch their arm or shoulder before starting a conversation.
  • Talk face to face: Make sure your loved one can see your face. Don’t attempt to communicate from another room.
  • Avoid speaking or changing topics too quickly: Give them enough time to process what you’re speaking about.
  • Reduce background noise: Optimize the environment by removing distractions or ambient sound.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hearing Aids for Alzheimer’s Patients

Written By

Dr. Ruth Reisman

Audiologist

Ruth Reisman, AuD MBA, is a licensed audiologist and hearing aid dispenser in New York state and is certified by the American Speech and Hearing Association. After serving as an audiologist in the New York downstate hospital system, Dr. Reisman led the… Learn More About Dr. Ruth Reisman

Citations
  1. Alzheimers.gov. (2022). Can I Prevent Dementia?

  2. National Library of Medicine. (2014). Minimizing Confusion and Disorientation: Cognitive Support Work in Informal Dementia Caregiving.

  3. Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired. (2020). Dementia and Vision Loss.

  4. Alzheimer’s Association. (2022). 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Facts About Falls.

  6. National Library of Medicine. (2020). Tinnitus and risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease: a retrospective nationwide population-based cohort study.

  7. Hopkins Medicine. (2022). The Hidden Risks of Hearing Loss.

  8. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2021). Hearing Loss and the Dementia Connection.

  9. Mayo Clinic. (2022). Tinnitus.