Hearing loss is too often an accepted handicap. Studies have found time and time again that hearing loss leads to less social activity, more isolation, increased sadness and depression. This is something I witness on a daily basis.
A recent study by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, found other negative impacts of hearing loss besides these social and emotional problems. The studies found that declines in hearing ability may accelerate gray matter atrophy, or the death of brain cells, in auditory areas of the brain. This means increased listening effort for older adults to successfully comprehend speech.
The University of Pennsylvania researchers conducted two studies, which investigated the relationship between hearing acuity and the brain. Dr. Jonathan Peelle, University of Pennsylvania, states this finding, “As hearing ability declines with age, interventions such as hearing aids should be considered not only to improve hearing but also to preserve the brain.” He went on to explain, “Your hearing ability directly affects how the brain processes sounds, including speech.”
These studies motivate us audiologists to promote better hearing in order to help patients preserve their brains, so they can perform to their best ability in everything they do. Audiologists promote better hearing in many ways, some of which are informing the public of the dangers of noise exposure, providing hearing screenings to community members, and helping patients cope with their hearing loss.
Executive Director of the Better Hearing Institute Sergei Kochkin, PhD, advises people with hearing loss that the first step to preserving their quality of life is to make an appointment with a hearing health care professional. He went on to advise, “If you want to keep your mind sharp and life complete, don’t leave hearing loss unaddressed.”
What Can Aid in The Recovery of Hearing Loss?
While hearing aids are often the primary solution, there are other types of assistive listening devices that can help certain people. Having your hearing tested and discussing options with an audiologist is the first step. If hearing aids are recommended, you and your audiologist will work together in choosing the best hearing aids for you. Audiologists offer trial periods to make sure you’re successful with hearing aids. The range of trial periods can vary between audiologists. In our office, we offer a 90-day-trial period to ensure 100-percent satisfaction.
For more information on hearing loss, its treatment and prevention, visit the Avera Medical Group Ear, Nose & Throat Yankton website or better yet, call our friendly staff at (888) 515-6820 to schedule a complimentary consultation to learn firsthand about your hearing. For those not in Yankton, you can find an auditory specialist near you at Avera’s online provider directory.