How Hearing Aids Can Prevent Cognitive Decline

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Calvert Hearing Care examines the connections between hearing aids and cognitive decline in a recently published article.

Calvert Hearing Care

The brain’s ability to change itself, referred to as neuroplasticity, is a relatively recent discovery of modern neuroscience. It was thought in the early 20th century that the brain stopped changing in adolescence, but we now know that the brain can change all throughout life.

Neuroplasticity accounts for the ability to learn new skills throughout life, such as mastering a new language or acquiring a new skill like juggling or playing a musical instrument. The acquisition of these new skills all result in corresponding physical changes to the brain.

That the brain can change itself there is no question, but now, researchers are turning their attention to the links among neuroplasticity, hearing loss, and hearing aids.

Researchers from the University of Colorado have recently found that the portion of the brain devoted to hearing can become reorganized and reassigned to different functions, even with early-stage hearing loss. Sections of the brain responsible for other functions, like vision or touch, can recruit the underutilized sections responsible for hearing and speech comprehension.

The struggle to understand speech for those with hearing loss, therefore, is not the result of damage to the inner ear only—the structural changes in the brain share part of the blame. The research also suggests that treating hearing loss early is best to prevent these unwelcome changes.

A related study conducted by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that for those with hearing loss, the group that wore hearing aids showed lower rates of cognitive decline compared to the group with hearing loss that did not wear hearing aids. While hearing loss can physically change the brain, leading to cognitive decline, wearing hearing aids may be able to reverse the changes, resulting in better speech comprehension through reestablished brain connections.

For more information on neuroplasticity and the related studies, visit How Hearing Aids Can Keep Your Brain Young.

About Calvert Hearing Care

Calvert Hearing Care is a full-service audiology practice located in Texas, with locations in Allen and Garland. The practice offers comprehensive hearing care services to help members of the local community hear better, live better, and reconnect with loved ones.

Clay Mainord, Au.D.
Calvert Hearing Care
(972) 200-3339

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Clay Mainord, Au.D.