SpeechPathology.com Phone: 800-242-5183

The Stepping Stones Group - Hot Jobs - July 2022

Remember Me? A Guide to Alzheimer's Disease and Hearing Loss

Remember Me? A Guide to Alzheimer's Disease and Hearing Loss
Jess Dancer, EdD, Phyllis Watkins
August 22, 2005

Jess Dancer, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus of Audiology, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Phyllis Watkins, Executive Director, Alzheimer's Arkansas Programs and Services

Oscar-winning actor Charlton Heston said yesterday that he is suffering from what appears to be Alzheimer's disease, a slow-progressing and fatal brain disorder that gradually robs the victim of the ability to remember and think.

"For now I'm not changing anything," said Mr. Heston, 77, in a taped statement played for the press at the Beverly Hills Hotel, not far from his home. "I'll insist on work when I can; the doctors will insist on rest when I must. If you see a little less spring in my step, if your name fails to leap to my lips, you'll know why. And if I tell you a funny story for the second time, please laugh anyway."

-Washington Times, Saturday, August 10, 2002


With the above statement, Charlton Heston, who played Moses in the Ten Commandments, joined over 4 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease taking that long journey of goodbye into what Ronald Reagan called "the sunset of my life," and what his wife Nancy described as "distant place where I can no longer reach him."

The story of Alzheimer's disease began in l906 when Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a physician in Germany for whom the disease is named, studied the brain of a 51-year-old woman with symptoms of depression, hallucinations, and dementia. He discovered ... "a paucity of cells in the cerebral cortex ... and clumps of filaments between the nerve cells."1 Dr. Alzheimer's finding of plaques and tangles within the tissues of the brain remains the classic hallmarks of the disease even today, with the definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer's confirmed only at autopsy. Perhaps the most poignant moment in this discovery was when the patient uttered: "I have lost myself."

Alzheimer's disease is marked by the loss of cognitive ability, generally over a period of 10-15 years, and associated with the accumulation of beta amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles throughout the brain. These abnormal tissues prevent the proper transmission of electrochemical signals necessary for information processing and retrieval and suffocate neurons by inhibiting blood supply. The disease is characterized by impairment in memory and a disturbance in at least one other thinking function, such as language or perception of reality.

Alzheimer's disease is one of a number of dementias, defined generally as a deterioration of intellectual faculties, such as memory, concentration, and judgment, resulting from an organic disease or a disorder of the brain. These conditions may also produce emotional disturbances and personality changes. The word dementia has Latin roots meaning "madness" or "senseless." Dementia may be caused by many medical conditions, some reversible and some progressive, which can result in cerebral dysfunction. Of the many causes of dementia, Alzheimer's disease is responsible for the majority of cases.

Jess Dancer, EdD

Jess Dancer, Ed.D., is Professor Emeritus of Audiology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Since his retirement in 2003, he has authored more than a dozen articles on various audiology topics and has participated in numerous workshops for the Arkansas Department of Health and for Alzheimer's Arkansas. Most recently, he coordinated a workshop on "The Audiologist's Role in Alzheimer's Care", spoke at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Memory Disorders Clinic on "Linking Alzehimer's Disease and Hearing Loss," and participated in a workshop on cultural competence for early intervention specialists in Northwest Arkansas.

phyllis watkins

Phyllis Watkins

Related Courses

Behavioral Frameworks for Dementia Management
Presented by Mary Beth Mason, PhD, CCC-SLP, Robert W. Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, FNAP
Course: #9473Level: Intermediate1 Hour
This course will focus on cognitive-communication intervention strategies for various dementia presentations and will provide a review of evidence-based treatment. Behavioral frameworks along with their rationales will be introduced and applied across several dementia types and mild, moderate and severe levels of impairment.

Dysphagia in Neurodegenerative Disease
Presented by Debra M. Suiter, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S
Course: #9732Level: Intermediate1 Hour
Dysphagia is common in individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease. This course discusses the underlying pathophysiology and appropriate treatment programs for each disease, as well as use of alternate methods of nutrition/hydration.

Facilitating First Verbs through Shared Book Reading
Presented by Susan Hendler Lederer, PhD, CCC-SLP
Course: #9735Level: Introductory1 Hour
This course discusses early verb acquisition, choosing first verb targets, and a variety of strategies to facilitate verb learning using children’s picture books as a therapy context.

Research Watch Report: Evidence-Based Treatment Approaches for Acquired Apraxia of Speech
Presented by April Garrity, PhD, CCC-SLP
Course: #9226Level: Advanced1 Hour
This Research Watch Report focuses on some of the most current research in the area of acquired apraxia of speech (AOS). Three research articles are summarized and potential clinical applications of the evidence are discussed.

ALS: Medications and Oral Care
Presented by Denise Dougherty, MA, SLP
Course: #8717Level: Intermediate1 Hour
This is Part 1 of a three-part series on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This course will identify medication and complementary alternative medicine that may be used by patients to treat ALS. The importance of saliva management and mouth care as a critical component of their daily care will be discussed, along with strategies. (Part 2: Course #8719, Part 3: #8720)

Our site uses cookies to improve your experience. By using our site, you agree to our Privacy Policy.