Our brains play an important part in the hearing process. Additionally, untreated hearing loss has been shown to negatively affect cognition. Let’s take a closer look at the connection between hearing and the brain.
Hearing Loss Affects Cognitive Abilities
Research has established a connection between untreated hearing loss and cognitive changes.
According to The National Library of Medicine, “There is ample evidence linking hearing loss to changes in cognitive ability, particularly when listeners are faced with the task of understanding speech that is acoustically or linguistically challenging.”
Additionally, a study from Johns Hopkins University found that hearing loss increases a person’s risk of dementia. The more severe the hearing loss, the greater the risk of developing dementia.
How Hearing Loss Affects Brain Function
- Lack of stimulation. When you have hearing loss, the parts of your brain that process speech and other sounds don’t get as much stimulation as they did when you had normal hearing. This decreased input into the brain leads to less processing and contributes to a decline in cognition.
- Cognitive overload. As hearing becomes more difficult, your brain has to work harder to process and understand sound, and your brain starts to work less efficiently. This cognitive overload can lead to mental fatigue and affect your cognition.
- Isolation. Because hearing makes understanding speech more difficult, many people with hearing loss start to avoid social situations and isolate themselves from others. Isolation both deprives your brain of stimulation and has been associated with a faster rate of cognitive decline.
Hearing Aids Can Be Good for The Brain
Treating your hearing loss with hearing aids may help to reduce your risk of developing cognitive decline and dementia when compared to people who leave their hearing loss untreated.
Hearing aids help make it easier to process sounds, which helps you communicate whether you’re enjoying time with your family at home, participating in a work meeting or out enjoying a meal with friends at one of Minnesota’s many amazing restaurants.
These connections help you to avoid isolation and provide your brain with proper stimulation. Hearing aids also make it so your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to understand what people are saying, so you’re less likely to experience cognitive overload.
For more information about hearing loss and the brain, call the experts at Midwest Hearing today.