Hearing loss affects a person’s personality, cognition, and hearing acuity. Hearing loss can cause daily frustration, irritability, and stress in a person’s life. When senses are altered, the brain reorganizes and adjusts. Losing the ability to hear can accelerate gray matter atrophy in auditory areas of the brain. Hearing aids can not only improve hearing but can also preserve the brain.
People with untreated hearing loss have less gray matter in the auditory cortex which may begin when hearing ability declines. Studies have found that people with untreated hearing loss have lower gray matter density of the auditory areas and less brain activity when listening to complex sentences. The brain loses its high functioning ability because the auditory area of the brain no longer receives the nerve impulses from the sounds that the ear hears. The auditory area in the temporal lobe of the brain will begin the degenerate and creates a ripple effect to the Wernicke’s area of the brain, which is responsible for converting auditory information into an understandable spoken language. Protecting the ability to hear with hearing aids preserves a person’s perception, cognition, and how the brain processes sounds, including speech.
Hearing should be tested at all ages to maintain a high functioning brain. Studies have found a strong correlation between untreated hearing loss and the development of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Alzheimer’s disease affects memory, thinking, language, perception, and behavior from deteriorated nerve cells in the brain tissue. Untreated hearing loss also links to depression from the feeling of anxiety and social isolation from one’s family and friends.
Many symptoms of hearing loss are similar to symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and depression, and result in difficulties in communication. In another study among hearing impaired adults, the researchers concluded that those with treated hearing loss had significant improvements in every dimension measured, such as relations at home, feelings about self, mental health, and social life).
Continue to challenge your brain to keep it healthy with daily exercise, healthy eating, maintaining healthy weight, and solving puzzles like Sudoku or crossword puzzles. Protect your brain today and call Live Better Hearing to have your hearing tested at 301-977-6317.