Hearing Loss and Brain Changes
We have known for years about auditory deprivation due to significant hearing loss. Auditory deprivation refers to changes in the brain that occur due to lack of stimulation secondary to hearing loss. As auditory input is attenuated, other parts of the brain become more active to compensate.
Studies performed on individuals with hearing loss show increased activity in the pre-frontal and frontal cortex, responsible for executive planning and memory, as well as the visual cortex. This increased brain activity leads to more effortful hearing, and results in the mental fatigue described by so many individuals with hearing loss. Over time, this cognitive overload may contribute to the higher risk of dementia found in those with untreated hearing loss.
What is surprising is that recent research is finding these same effects in individuals with mild degrees of hearing loss. The good news is that early treatment for even mild degrees of hearing loss can prevent or reverse cross-modal recruitment, and relieve the increased brain load present with untreated hearing loss. Our Houston, TX and Pearland TX offices have the latest hearing aid and assistive listening technology to address the effects of mild to profound hearing losses. Call today to start your journey toward better hearing, and a better quality of life!
For more information regarding auditory deprivation, click here for an interview with Dr. Anu Sharma of University of Colorado at Boulder, one of the foremost researchers today in the field of hearing loss and cognition, published in the 1-3-17 edition of The Hearing Review.