Improving Cognitive Functioning with Hearing Aids
Your brain pretty much controls all the activity going on in your body, whether you are awake or asleep. Hearing loss can significantly hamper cognitive abilities due to the additional burden placed on it to decipher the limited sound signals coming through hearing-impaired ears. This is why it is important to wear hearing aids to help keep your brain functioning to the best of its ability.
You may not realize this, but hearing actually occurs in your brain, not your ears! Sure, your ears are responsible for carrying the sound signals to the brain but it is actually your brain that makes sense of those sound signals and interprets them into the sounds that we recognize each day. The brain and ears work in collaboration to create our world of sound, which is why when the ears are hindered, the brain suffers as well.
Thankfully, with hearing aids, you can significantly reduce the burden placed on your brain to make sense of the sounds due to hearing loss. Your brain helps you recognize the source of sounds, how loud the sound is, who the speaker is, and what the speaker is saying. All of these processes happen in a matter of seconds, which is why hearing loss often stops a person dead in their tracks as all these processes suddenly come to a halt.
When limited sound enters the ears, the brain gets an incomplete picture and has difficulty filling the gaps with the limited auditory information provided. Over time this can lead to fatigue, irritation, and even dementia as the brain is constantly strained to perform simple auditory tasks that are no longer as simple because of hearing loss.
Hearing loss can be a very isolating experience as you become a silent witness to a world moving on without you. You can see others laughing at unheard jokes and see people engrossed in conversations that you can no longer hear. This can make you feel left out and you may begin to withdraw and become reluctant to attend social gatherings and have conversations with your loved ones. People may begin to ignore you because of your hearing loss which may make you feel hurt and isolated. Over time this can result in depression and anxiety. You can avoid these negative consequences of hearing loss simply through the use of hearing aids.
Regular users of hearing aids report significantly reduced rates of depression and report being more socially active. These were the findings reported in a research study that spanned over 25 years which included a staggering 4000 participants. Hearing aid users reported having the same low rate of cognitive decline as those with regular hearing. This means that wearing hearing aids pretty much negates the negative impact that results from hearing loss and puts you at par with those with regular hearing.
The above study also found that those who wear hearing aids reported having significantly improvements in mood, increased interpersonal communication and enhanced ability to participate in activities that stimulated the brain.
Of course, a simple advice that can go a long way in helping you improve your life is to be consistent about wearing your hearing aids. Many hearing aid owners do indeed own a pair of hearing aids but are either too ashamed to wear them or feel that their hearing is “not that bad” and hence never end up wearing them as often as they should. If you have hearing loss, wear your hearing aids regularly to enjoy the positive effects of wearing hearing aids. Your ears AND your brain will thank you for it!