hearing loss

What You Need To Know About Hearing Loss And Memory Problems?

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Hearing loss is a common phenomenon and it could affect individuals across all age groups. The main causes for hearing impairment could be hereditary factors, trauma, ear disease, noise exposure, and most importantly, age. Hearing loss is known to trigger cognitive decline and memory loss in older adults. Audiologists have been seeing a boost in demand for their services by aged clients whose communication issues are triggered by hearing impairment and cognitive decline. For all these aged people, early detection or diagnosis of cognitive decline is crucial as it is mandatory to provide prompt medical intervention and also assure social support.

Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline

According to researchers and experts in the field of audiology, hearing loss is certainly a factor in deteriorating mental acuity in aged individuals. Persons with severe hearing loss would be having greater chances of developing some sort of a cognitive disorder and a definite boost in mental function decline while individuals with even mild hearing would be experiencing cognitive issues such as dementia, memory changes, and even increased falls.

The exact connection between hearing impairment and cognitive decline is yet not completely understood. It could possibly be because of a surge in cognitive load. The brain is overwhelmed because of increasing demands on its already limited resources. Hearing impairment could result in increased social isolation to which aged adults seem to be already prone to. Social isolation is certainly a risk factor for dementia and cognitive impairment according to audiologists.

Diminished hearing abilities could result in reduced brain stimulation, which again is a great risk factor for declining thinking abilities. It could also be plausible that by compelling the brain to work overtime for effectively processing the signals coming from the ears, it is obvious that the hearing impairment would be taking away all the energy and vitality from the brain’s thinking parts.

Ways Hearing Loss Could Cause Memory Problems & Dementia

Physiological Pathway: Perhaps the most obvious cause is a physiological pathway that plays a role in cognitive decline, as well as, hearing loss, like blood pressure.

Cognitive Overload: The most common cause of memory loss issues is the cognitive overload which is actually, the constant endeavour you are putting in, for understanding what you are apparently hearing. You are constantly straining and this could prove to be stressful to your brain. Moreover, an older adult has been drawing away resources from brain functions like working memory would eventually bring down the resilience of the brain.

Changes in Brain Structure: Experts believe that hearing impairment could affect the brain structure in such a manner that cognitive issues or memory problems would arise. Images of the brain demonstrate that aged individuals with hearing impairment have relatively less grey matter in that portion of the brain that is known to receive and process sounds coming in through the ears. This does not imply that they are losing brain cells.

You could say certain brain cell structures are shrinking due to lack of stimulation. Many experts believe that when the brain is again able to receive clearer speech signals with the use of cutting-edge hearing aids, these brain structures could be recovering and going back to their previous function and size. This may lead to the restoration of hearing.

Social Isolation: Social isolation seems to play a pivotal role in cognitive decline or memory problems. When you are having hearing issues, you tend to avoid friends and social gatherings as it becomes difficult to carry on a conversation. When you become socially isolated there would be a definite increase in the risk of cognitive decline leading to dementia.

Conclusion

It would possibly take a lot more research for accurately determining what factors lead to memory issues triggered by hearing loss. The important thing is to understand that an advanced hearing loss treatment including state-of-the-art hearing aids could be successful in delaying or preventing cognitive decline and even dementia.

Our audiology clinic in Southern River Family Practice offers varies hearing solutions for all your hearing problems. Feel free to make appointment today with our audiologist to understand further on preventing hearing loss.

Hearing aids improve brain function in people with hearing loss

Published on January 30, 2016 at 2:35 AM

A recent study by Jamie Desjardins, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the speech-language pathology program at The University of Texas at El Paso, found that hearing aids improve brain function in persons with hearing loss.

Hearing loss, if left untreated, can lead to serious emotional and social consequences, reduced job performance and diminished quality of life. Untreated hearing loss also can interfere with cognitive abilities because so much effort is put toward understanding speech.

“If you have some hearing impairment and you’re not using hearing aids, maybe you can figure out what the person has said, but that comes with a cost,” Desjardins explained. “You may actually be using the majority of your cognitive resources – your brain power – in order to figure out that message.”

As people age, basic cognitive skills – working memory, the ability to pay attention to a speaker in a noisy environment, or the ability to process information quickly – begin to decline.

Desjardins studied a group of individuals in their 50s and 60s with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss who had previously never used hearing aids.

They took cognitive tests to measure their working memory, selective attention and processing speed abilities prior to and after using the hearing aids.

After two weeks of hearing aid use, tests revealed an increase in percent scores for recalling words in working memory and selective attention tests, and the processing speed at which participants selected the correct response was faster.

By the end of the study, participants had exhibited significant improvement in their cognitive function.

Hearing Aid Research”Most people will experience hearing loss in their lifetime,” said Desjardins, who joined UTEP in 2013. “Think about somebody who is still working and they’re not wearing hearing aids and they are spending so much of their brainpower just trying to focus on listening. They may not be able to perform their job as well. Or if they can, they’re exhausted because they are working so much harder. They are more tired at the end of the day and it’s a lot more taxing. It affects their quality of life.”
Hearing loss affects more than 9 million Americans over the age of 65 and 10 million Americans ages 45 to 64, but only about 20 percent of people who actually need hearing aids wear them, Desjardins said.

Desjardins’ new study focuses on the use of hearing aids by Hispanics. Research shows that only five percent of Mexican-Americans wear hearing aids. She has developed a survey to investigate their attitudes toward hearing loss. The survey will be conducted at health fairs in the community, including the Mexican Consulate in El Paso,Texas.

Source:The University of Texas at El Paso

 

 

How to prevent hearing loss?

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How to prevent hearing loss and protect your hearing?

  • Noise-induced hearing loss is usually permanent and progresses with each exposure. Use proper ear protection when working around loud noises.
  • Never put foreign objects in the ear.
  • Do not use cotton swabs to clean or probe the ear canals.
  • Do not put cotton balls or liquids into the ear unless prescribed by a doctor.
  • Treat middle ear infections as soon as possible. Hearing loss may be prevented by prompt treatment. Most doctors believe that fluid in the middle ear (called an effusion) lasting longer than 6 weeks should be drained and tympanostomy tubes(ear tubes) placed in the middle ear.
  • If you are taking medications that can cause hearing loss, your doctor should carefully monitor their levels with blood tests.

Below shows the health nutrition’s which helps prevent hearing loss. Good luck.

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Signs & Symptoms of hearing loss

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Hearing loss usually develops gradually that you don’t notice the loss of these subtle everyday sounds. Someone with hearing loss will only realize how much they have been missing once they get help.

For adults, below symptoms could be taken as warning sign…

  • You hear people speaking but you have to strain to understand their words.
  • You frequently complain that people mumble.
  • You find it harder to hear in public gatherings.
  • You play the TV or radio louder than your friends, spouse and relatives.
  • You don’t always hear the doorbell or the telephone ringing.
  • You frequently ask people to repeat what they said.
  • You find that looking at people when they speak to you makes it easier to understand.
  • You talk loudly.
  • You find it difficult to distinguish speech from other sounds and noises.

If you have any of these symptoms, you should see an audiologist for hearing assessment. A hearing assessment allows the audiologist to determine the nature and degree of your hearing loss, and it tells the audiologist how well or how poorly you understand speech. A thorough investigation also includes a comprehensive case history (interview) as well as visual inspection of the ear canals and eardrum. The results of the hearing evaluation are useful to the physician should the audiologist conclude that your hearing problem may be treated with medical or surgical alternatives. If the results indicate that you are a suitable candidate for hearing aid, hearing aids that suit your type and degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, dexterity and budget will be prescribed. Post- fitting follow- up will be customised to ensure that you hear better in short time.

 As for children, below are some symptoms:

  • Risk factors during pregnancy, such as maternal rubella or syphilis.
  • Significant head trauma.
  • Meningitis.
  • History of congenital hearing loss.
  • Recurrent middle ear infections.
  • Ototoxic medication
  • Speech or language delay.
  • Risk factors in the new-born, such as premature birth, low birth weight, severe jaundice.
  • Parent or teacher has noticed or suspects a hearing loss abnormalities of the ears, nose or throat.
  • Syndromes such as Down Syndrome.

Children should have their hearing tested if one of the above occurs.

At vCare Hearing, we provide comprehensive hearing assessment for both adult and children to detect early stage of hearing loss before it occurs.