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How Hearing Aids Increase Brain Activity

If you need another reason to get a hearing test, consider this: treating hearing loss has been shown to benefit your brain.

Hearing Loss Can Impact Brain Function

Senior woman smiling while getting fitted for her hearing aid.

Untreated hearing loss can negatively affect your brain, and in some cases, even increase your risk of serious conditions like cognitive decline or dementia. While the exact reasons for this are not entirely known, there are several theories.

  1. When you have hearing loss, your brain has to put much more energy into trying to understand speech and other sounds. This can lead to cognitive overload and cause your brain to not function as efficiently or effectively.

  2. Parts of your brain that process sound start to receive less stimulation when you have hearing loss. Over time, this may lead to shrinkage or atrophy in these areas.

  3. Some people with hearing loss begin to find the stress of socializing and trying to understand what others are saying too overwhelming, so they start to isolate themselves from others. Isolation further deprives the brain of stimulation and has been known to accelerate cognitive decline in some individuals.

Use Hearing Aids To Improve Cognition

Researchers will continue to study and learn more about the ways in which hearing loss is connected to brain health. However, the good news is that multiple studies have shown that using hearing aids to treat hearing loss can help protect and possibly even improve cognitive function. For example:

  1. A 2020 study examined the cognitive function and speech perception in 28 adults with age-related hearing loss. They were first tested while their hearing loss was untreated and then six months after being fitted with hearing aids. Participants showed improvement in both speech perception as well as cognitive function after being fitted with hearing aids.

  2. Another study evaluated older adults between the ages of 62–82 both before and after being fitted with hearing aids. They found that participants showed “statistically significant improvement in cognition 18 months after hearing aid use.”

Schedule a Hearing Test To Protect Brain Health

If you’ve noticed that you are having trouble hearing, whether at church, during family dinners or when at your weekly yoga class at the Crestview Community Center, schedule an appointment for a hearing test.

The sooner you can get diagnosed and get fitted with hearing aids, the better it will be for your body, mind and overall health.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Topeka Ear Nose & Throat today.

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