We all search for independence from a very early age. Be it the ability to walk without help, to drive in our own car, or to be able to hear without asking others to constantly repeat themselves. Thankfully, with hearing aids, you can regain your sense of freedom from the shackles that hearing loss binds you with.
Our ears may do the listening, but hearing actually occurs in the brain, which transfers sound signals into decipherable sounds that we recognize. With hearing loss, the brain struggles to make sense of sound impulses with the limited information coming its way, so it reroutes the signals via new neural pathways. This is known as neuroplasticity.
The problem with neuroplasticity is that it affects people with hearing loss adversely, since the brain stops searching for sound signals from the ears over time. This can lead to cognitive decline as time progresses, since the brain is so used to not getting any sound signals from the ears. This can interfere with your ability to understand speech sounds and can hamper your communication and social skills.
Due to the brain’s neuroplasticity, your ears may be deemed redundant over time, which can actually worsen your hearing loss. Thankfully, with hearing aids you can utilize your brain’s abilities to reroute signals to your advantage, while simultaneously enhancing your hearing capacities with your hearing aids. This can result in an overall increase in the cognitive skills of those with hearing aids. This finding was reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The study found that the cognitive skills of those with hearing aids to be on par with those with regular hearing, and far superior to those with untreated hearing loss.
Remember, because of neuroplasticity, “you snooze you lose” takes on a whole new meaning since you actually do end up losing some of your abilities if you no longer use them. This is why it is important to intervene to help alleviate hearing loss with the help of hearing aids.
You may feel like hearing loss is for the elderly, and neuroplasticity is for the young, neither of which is true! Believe it or not, the ability of your brain to reprogram itself has nothing to do with age, and neither does hearing loss. You may be affected by hearing loss at any point in your lifetime. We live in a very noisy world these days, so hearing loss is actually more common than you might think. In fact, it is the third most common health problem in the United States!
Wearing hearing aids can help you get back on track with your life without having to worry about losing your cognitive skills to hearing loss. No matter how old you are, you can utilize the contemporary features of modern hearing aids to not only help you hear, but also stay connected. Thanks to features such as Bluetooth, GPS, and wireless streaming, your hearing aids do more than just help you hear. Talk to your audiologist about getting hearing aids today.
Dr. Hubik received her bachelor of science degree in communication disorders as well as her doctorate of audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). In her youth, Dr. Hubik became interested in helping people with hearing loss to communicate more effectively and therefore pursued a degree in this field. Born and raised in this area, Dr. Hubik grew up in Anton, Texas and appreciates working with the people of West Texas. Dr. Hubik opened Cornerstone Audiology in March of 2007. She and her team are proud to serve the hearing needs of this community.