Cognitive Issues with Hearing Loss
Did you know? People with untreated hearing loss tend to develop cognitive decline earlier than peers with normal hearing.
What is the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline? Hearing loss appears to shrink some parts of the brain responsible for auditory response based on studies. In particular, a reduction in “gray matter,” the brain regions involved in muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control. Many scientists believe that cognitive decline is likely related to the lack of social interaction that older adults have because of their hearing loss.
It’s a well-known fact that, as we get older, we tend to experience some level of decline in our cognitive ability. For some of us, it may be mild, and for others, more serious. Although a normal part of aging, typical issues tend to occur, including forgetting simple details, taking longer to learn new tasks or skills, and difficulty concentrating or focusing. We might not be able to stop it — but recent and emerging studies tell us that we may be able to slow it down.
So what’s the fundamental connection between hearing loss and dementia? Social isolation is the leading theory, but experts are not entirely sure. Some people, when dealing with the loss of hearing, become less socially active. Another theory relates to sensory stimulation. With time, if a person loses sensory stimulation, such as hearing loss, the brain receives less activity which then causes mental decline.
Actively using hearing aids reduces the risk of cognitive decline.
Hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline and possibly also with the onset of dementia in older adults. The vast majority of scientists in the area have agreed that cognitive decline is likely related to the lack of social interaction that older adults have because of their hearing loss.
Putting the brain first.
BrainHearing™ describes the approach that Oticon takes when creating solutions for those with hearing loss. It starts with the fundamental observation that speech understanding is a cognitive process – it happens in the brain.
Our BrainHearing™ approach focuses on managing sound so that we provide the brain with the most complete sound picture possible. Of course, we want to create an excellent signal-to-noise ratio when that is possible, but we also want to provide a complete, natural sound picture.
The role of amplification is to feed the brain the very best information possible. At Oticon, our goal is to preserve information in the details of the speech waveform and to provide a complete picture of where the sound comes from. This provides the hearing instrument user with the most complete, most natural, and most successful listening experience possible.
Actively using hearing aids helps reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
There has never been a better time to invest in your hearing! If you have any questions or would like to learn more about this technology, please contact us today at 360-479-4065 or CLICK HERE to schedule a consultation online.