Did you know healthy hearing helps you keep a healthy brain?

What’s that you say? Hearing is a complex process! The sounds we hear make their way from our ears down the auditory nerves and into the auditory cortex. That’s where speech is understood and sent to our short term memory. This is how we seem to effortlessly understand the tens of thousands of words we hear every day.

As a hearing loss starts to impact us more and more, we all know it’s not as easy to understand speech. Research in the past decade has indicated that it also causes the brain to change over time. Have you ever heard someone with hearing loss say their memory “isn’t what it used to be?” The reason could be untreated hearing loss.

When the different parts of the brain receives less sound from the ears, they begin to lost function because they’re not being used as much – just like one of our muscles. As other parts of the brain do more work to decipher speech, they grow and other parts start to shrink. This means that speech being received by the brain has to travel farther to the more “fit” parts of the brain to be processed in our short term memory. This extra processing in a different area of the brain causes some of that speech to “get lost”.

With all this extra work, our brains have to work harder to comprehend speech at the same time as participating in a conversation. This means we may have less energy for committing speech to memory and feel tired or exhausted after a conversation.

Recent studies have also linked untreated hearing loss to a significant increase in the risk for earlier onset of cognitive decline and dementia. Treating hearing loss isn’t just a matter of convenience—it’s good for your brain!

Questions? Contact our office at (201) 928-0808 or www.audiologyassociatesofnj.com/contact/

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