HEARING TIPS

Why Hearing Aids Are Necessary For Independent Living

Woman with hearing loss happy to have her freedom and independence while riding in a convertible.

It’s impossible to forget getting your first car. How great was that sense of independence? You could go anywhere, when you wanted, with whoever you wanted. Many people who suffer from hearing loss have this exact same experience when they invest in their first pair of hearing aids.

How can getting your first pair of hearing aids be compared to getting your first car? Although there are obvious advantages to hearing better, there are some less obvious ones which will help you maintain your independence. It so happens that your brain’s functionality is profoundly affected by loss of hearing.

Neuroplasticity

The following example illustrates exactly how your brain reacts to changes: You’re on your way to work, taking the same way you always take. As you go to make that first left you find that there is a road-block. What would be your response to this blockage? Is quitting and going home a good decision? Unless you’re searching for an excuse not to go to work, most likely not. Finding another route is most likely what you would choose to do. If that route happened to be even more efficient, or if your regular route remained restricted, the new route would become the new routine.

The same thing occurs inside of your brain when a “normal” function is stopped or else not working. Brand new pathways are forged in the brain due to a function called neuroplasticity.

Perfecting new abilities such as drawing or painting, or learning a brand new language are carried out by neuroplasticity. It also assists in building healthy habits. Activities that were once-challenging come to be automatic as physical modifications to the brain slowly adjust to match the new pathways. While neuroplasticity can be helpful for learning new things, it can also be just as good at making you forget what you know.

How Does Neuroplasticity Relate to Hearing Loss?

A perfect example of how neuroplasticity can have a negative impact is hearing loss. As explained in The Hearing Review, scientists at the University of Colorado discovered that even in the early stages of hearing loss, when your brain quits working on processing sounds, it will be re-purposed for something else. This is something you may not want it to be doing. This reorganization of your brain function clarifies the relationship between loss of hearing and cognitive decline.

If you have hearing loss, the areas of your brain responsible for functions, such as vision or touch, can take over the less-utilized areas of the brain responsible for hearing. This lessens the brain’s available resources for processing sound, and it impairs our capacity to understand speech.

So, if you are continuously asking people to repeat themselves, hearing loss has already begun. In addition, it might be a more significant issue than injury to your inner ear, it’s possible that the neglected loss of hearing has caused your brain structure to change.

How Hearing Aids Can Help You

As with most things, there is both a negative and positive angle to this amazing ability. Neuroplasticity may make your loss of hearing worse, but it also elevates the performance of hearing aids. You can really take advantage of advanced hearing aid technology thanks to your brain’s ability to regenerate tissue and reroute neural pathways. Hearing aids encourage mental growth by stimulating the parts of your brain linked with loss of hearing.

As a matter of fact, a long-term study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Cognitive decline was decreased in people who wear hearing aids, according to this study. The study, titled Self-Reported Hearing Loss: Hearing Aids and Cognitive Decline in Elderly Adults: A 25-year Study, followed over three thousand adults over the age of 65. What the scientists found was that the speed of cognitive decline was higher in those with hearing loss compared to those with healthy hearing. However, people that used hearing aids to correct their hearing loss showed no difference in the rate of cognitive decline as compared to those with normal hearing.

We already understood quite a bit about neuroplasticity and this study confirms that understanding: if you don’t use it you will end up losing it because the brain arranges its functions according to the amount of stimulation it gets and the need at hand.”

Having a Young Brain

It doesn’t matter what your age is, the versatility of the brain means that it can modify itself at any time. It’s also important to note that hearing loss can accelerate mental deterioration and that simply using hearing aids prevent or minimize this decline.

Hearing aids are not simple over-the-counter amplification devices, they are sophisticated hearing technology. According to leading brain plasticity expert Dr. Michael Merzenich, you can enhance your brain function regardless of any health conditions by forcing yourself to complete challenging new tasks, being socially active, and practicing mindfulness amongst other techniques.

To guarantee your quality of life, hearing aids are a must. Becoming isolated and withdrawn is common for people with hearing loss. You can be sure to remain active and independent by investing in a pair of hearing aids. Don’t forget that if you want your brain to stay as young as you feel it needs to keep processing sound and receiving stimulation.

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