Hopefully you've heard the exciting news that hearing aids have been shown to halt cognitive decline and in one small study repair cognitive decline. That’s incredible news, and it comes at a time when hearing technology is in sync with the research, creating advanced features that speak directly to the brain or are designed to initiate auditory brain functions.
Human hearing is a sophisticated sense that relies on many structures in the ear and brain. This body-mind sense allows us to sort and categorize complex sounds by tone, frequency, distance, and importance. That's so cool. Your brain is a super computer listening through your cute ears to your surrounding environment. And it's taking note of a thousand things you aren't even aware of. Your hearing not only takes care of you, making sure there are no immediate threats, but it also takes care of others. Like when your husband calls for help from the garage because he's had another "incident."
Your brain can also tune out irrelevant noises like the fridge and focus on the sound you do want to hear. Any mother who has ever tuned out her surroundings in order to focus on whether her baby might be crying in the other room is well-aware of this skill. Thanks, hearing brain. I appreciate you. With all of this going on, you can see how complicated the task of hearing aids are and how essential. If your ears aren't picking up the sounds you need to hear and delivering them to your brain, your brain can't work its magic.
But getting that sound to your brain is only part of what hearing aids need to do. The sound also needs to be clear and organic sounding so that the brain doesn't have to strain to figure out what the sounds are or where they are coming from. Unclear sounds and disruptive sounds that can be turned down help cause brain drain, a fatigue that happens when sounds aren't designed to be deciphered by the brain. Oticon--a hearing aid manufacturer who trademarked the term BrainHearing™--explains it this way:
Technology designed to help your brain make sense of sound makes a huge difference for you and your brain. If you'd like to learn more about using hearing aids to keep your brain healthy speak with your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!