Hearing loss impacts more than you think. Evidence suggests that older adults with hearing loss are more likely to experience the symptoms of cognitive decline. Hearing aids can improve the negative effects of hearing loss on the brain.
Your Hearing and Your Brain
Your hearing is a partnership between your ears and your brain. When someone speaks, your brain processes the sounds so that you can understand them. That is called cognitive load. When you have untreated hearing loss, the speech signals coming in to your brain are degrade, so your brain has to work much harder to process them. When more brain power is targeted to understanding the sound around you, other brain tasks such as memory and comprehension can suffer.
Use It or Lose It
Audiologists recognize a significant benefit of early intervention with hearing aids. When you lose hearing ability over time, your brain can actually "forget" how to hear certain sounds. For example, the longer your brain is deprived of high-frequency sounds, the harder it will be to process those sounds even after being fitted with hearing aids.
What Can You Do?
If you suspect cognitive or emotional problems, schedule both a hearing evaluation with a trained professional and a physical exam with your doctor.
Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss
Increased Mental Fatigue/Stress
Poorer Mental Health