Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Hearing Brain: Listening May Help Your Mind

Sensory input form your ears may help to keep your brain younger and functioning better. Recent studies confirm there is a startling connection between hearing health and brain function.

Recent research suggests that hearing can help to improve memory and even stop brain atrophy and dementia before they begin. A study conducted by Jonathan Peelle and funded by the National Institute on Hearing, showed that hearing loss and the resulting lack of stimulation tended to cause reduction in gray matter. This startling report indicates preserving hearing may be as important as correcting hearing loss in keeping the brain healthy.

“Our results suggest that over time, this change in stimulation to the brain may affect the health of auditory regions of the brain, and the level of brain activation in the brain when listening to speech.” Jonathan Peelle

In a separate study conducted by Johns Hopkins, hearing loss was linked to dementia. Even those with minimal hearing loss were shown to have an increased risk of developing dementia.

The worse the hearing loss the greater the likelihood a person had of developing the memory robbing disease.

No degree of hearing loss is safe. As Dr. Peelle told People Hearing Better, “One thing to emphasize is that the variations in hearing ability in the adults we studied were almost all within the range of "normal" hearing. So if someone is thinking, well, if I have just a little bit worse hearing it won't matter, it's not like I'm going deaf-in fact, even subtle changes in hearing appear to have an impact on the brain.”

Hearing aids have been shown to help people with hearing loss physically and socially.

Studies have shown that hearing aids fend of depression, isolation, help keep family and spouses close, and now there is a connection to how the brain functions. Hopefully, these relevant reasons for taking care of hearing will lead more people to visit their audiologist. Below People Hearing Better has compiled a list of some of the best hearing resources to help you make your start toward hearing health. These links will help you discover more about audiologists, hearing aids, the hearing loss community, and brain function. If you have any links that you’d like to add to the list, please send them to dstewart@ahhanet.com

If you'd like to learn more, see 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!

Related Articles:

Huffington Post-Five Ways to Keep Your Brain Active as You Age

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Types of Hearing Aids:

Seven Tips to Improve Your Memory from the Mayo Clinic

Myths about Hearing Aids:

Healthy Hearing

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association List of Hearing Aids

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