If you were to ask anyone how they would feel about wearing hearing aids, I would guess many answers would resemble this statement: “if I wear hearing aids I’ll be thought of as old.” This stigma could be tied to the fact that 1 in 3 people over the age of 60 in America suffer from hearing loss. But if you really dig into the facts, hearing loss can affect anyone, at any time, no matter what age you are.
Hearing loss impacts the lives of 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 49-68), 1 in 14 people ages 37 – 48, and 1 in every 5 teenagers in the U.S. today. The thing we often forget is that wearing hearing aids works to improve cognitive brain function in a way that allows people to communicate better in all types of situations. So, if you really think about it, wearing hearing aids facilitates communication and social activity, while untreated hearing loss requires people to strain to hear and understand conversations, as well as be involved in their surroundings. And, if I’m really thinking about it, not being able to hear is more of an aging tell than being able to hear, right? It’s time for us to stand up and admit that hearing aids have gotten a very bad rep. over the years. We must get over this stigma once and for all.
Today we know that wearing hearing aids keeps our brain healthy. Researchers from top medical institutions have proven that wearing hearing aids helps to avoid early on-set dementia, depression, feelings of isolation and an array of other health-related issues in our bodies. If you missed our previous blog, Proven Benefits of Hearing Aids, we discussed how hearing aids help the brain function. Be sure to check it out.
As we age, all human brains become smaller, but did you know that brain shrinkage accelerates in the brains of adults with untreated hearing loss? Wearing a hearing aid(s) helps to support healthy brain function for longer periods of time. When a person loses their hearing, whether it’s because of aging, noise exposure or disease, their brain stops or gets fewer critical electrical signals from the inner ear. When this occurs, the part of the brain dedicated to hearing is diverted to other areas of function. With untreated hearing loss, less sound impulses make it to the brain, so the brain works to create new pathways that have nothing to do with hearing. Our brain thinks it’s being efficient by re-using brain space, but really our cognitive function takes a big hit.
For many people, even just filtering sound and amplifying it with hearing aids over time improves their cognitive brain function. Hearing aids work to stimulate the brain to process sounds again. Perhaps even sounds that the brain has not heard or recognized in some time. In response, the brain works to regenerate cells and create new neural pathways. Although this process does not happen overnight, in time this process is proven to slow the cognitive decline that leads to dementia and protects short-term memory.
Hearing aids often make it possible for people to experience all kinds of new life opportunities. From hearing the doorbell to participating in conversations with friends and family and more, hearing aids can be the bridge to your improved quality of life. Too often, older people with hearing loss end up isolated because they can’t take part in discussions or understand what is going on around them. Don’t let this happen to yourself or someone you love.
When it comes time to talk to your loved one about their hearing loss, consider the following questions;
- Does he/she ask you to repeat yourself often?
- Does he/she listen to the television or radio at a noticeably high volume?
- Does he/she avoid social settings or loud places like restaurants or parties?
- Does he/she have difficulty talking on the phone?
- Does he/she often mishear what you or others say?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, give Physicians Hearing Solutions a call today to schedule a free hearing screening. We do not bill your insurance, nor do we charge co-pays or office fees for the free hearing screening visit. Our Hearing Healthcare public service program allows us to offer a no-obligation hearing screening to anyone who inquires. Call (401) 921-0181 to schedule a free hearing screening today.
Got Hearing loss in Rhode Island? We can help!
At Physicians Hearing Solutions (PHS), located in both East Providence, Rhode Island and Warwick, Rhode Island, the PHS team is committed to working together to bring the most quality hearing healthcare to patients. Find us here:
East Providence Office
900 Warren Avenue
East Providence, RI 02914
3520 Post Road
Warwick, RI 02886