Check Your Hearing This November for American Diabetes Month

Hearing loss is a widespread health problem that affects millions of people daily. Hearing loss can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, affecting roughly 30 million children and adults in the United States.

 

Hearing loss can be caused by various factors, including genetics and exposure to high sounds in the environment. Existing medical issues are another factor that can contribute to the development of hearing loss. Hearing loss has been linked to several chronic illnesses, including heart disease, hypertension, dementia, and diabetes.

 

Hearing loss is twice as common in those with diabetes, according to growing research and data. Let’s take a closer look at the links between the two conditions as we mark American Diabetes Month.

 

The Basics of Diabetes

 

Diabetes is a condition in which your body’s capacity to generate and use insulin is impaired. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, and insulin is released when your body converts food into energy to help deliver that energy to your cells. Essentially, insulin acts as a “key” in the body, telling cells to open and receive the glucose through a chemical signal. Too much sugar remains in your blood if you generate little or no insulin or if you are insulin resistant, and this is where the problem begins.

 

The impact of diabetes on small blood arteries throughout the body is one of the most damaging consequences. A healthy blood flow is essential for each cell, tissue, muscle, neuron, and organ in our bodies to function effectively. The most vital ingredients for life are oxygen and glucose, carried via blood to all of our organs. Diabetes symptoms are caused by an excess of glucose in the blood.

 

The effects of high blood glucose levels can damage blood vessels, leading to organ damage such as the heart, eyes, and hearing. Blood vessels are damaged and destroyed when blood glucose levels are high for long periods.

 

The exact mechanism of the harm is unknown, but its influence on people is well understood and very real.

 

Recent Studies

For a long time, the link between hearing loss and diabetes has been debated and explored. Multiple studies have looked at this link, all of which have come to the same conclusion: hearing loss and diabetes are linked. 

 

Consider the following two examples:

 

In a 2019 study, researchers gathered data from 139,909 women who completed questionnaires with and without type 2 diabetes. Participants were surveyed twice between 2009 and 2013 and reported moderate or severe hearing loss, and type 2 diabetes was found to increase the risk of moderate or severe hearing loss in women.

 

In another study published by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, researchers reviewed data from hearing exams conducted by the CDC from 1999 to 2004. Adults between the ages of 20 and 69 took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The hearing test assessed people’s ability to hear low, middle, and high-frequency noises in both ears. According to the study, adults with diabetes were twice as likely to experience hearing loss as adults without diabetes.

 

Diabetes’ Effect on Hearing

 

Even though extensive research shows a close link between these two health issues, it is still unclear how diabetes affects hearing.

 

According to researchers, the nerves and blood arteries in the inner ear may be damaged by high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes. The inner ear’s neurons, hair cells, and blood vessels play a crucial role in how humans process sound. They aid in converting soundwaves into electrical signals, which are ultimately transmitted to the brain via nerve networks. The brain is then able to interpret and analyze the sound we hear. Because the hair cells in the inner ear do not renew, any injury is irreversible and leads to hearing loss.

 

Time to take charge of your hearing

 

It is critical to have your hearing checked if you have diabetes. Hearing tests are a simple and painless way to identify the severity of your hearing loss and the hearing loss you have. Hearing loss can be treated in a variety of methods, which is fortunate. Hearing aids, which are small electronic devices that help absorb, enhance, and process sound to improve one’s ability to hear, are the most prevalent treatment. Detecting any degree of hearing loss as soon as possible and seeking treatment will dramatically benefit your hearing health. Make an appointment with us today to learn more about how to hear at your best!

Know Alzheimer’s Disease: Treat Hearing Loss in September during World Alzheimer’s Month

Know Alzheimer's Disease Treat Hearing Loss in September during World Alzheimer's Month(5) (2)

If you know someone who has suffered Alzheimer’s disease, then you already know how devastating this disease is not only for you, but for the caregivers and loved ones who surround them. Therefore, each September, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) celebrates World Alzheimer’s Month.  

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect over 50 million people across the globe with nearly 10 million new cases being reported each year. This September is a great time to ask questions about this common brain condition and what you can do to delay or prevent it from happening to you or your loved ones.

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease was named and discovered by Alois Alzheimer in 1906, who first identified tissue damage in the brains of his patients with similar mental health issues. This tissue damage was later identified as the formation of amyloid plaque and neurofibrillary tangles, which caused damage or destruction to brain tissue and stopped the important communication between brain cells. The result of this often starts as mild forgetfulness and over time escalates into the inability to complete everyday tasks. This is because dementia is considered a progressive disease.

How to Recognize Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease can occur at any age but is most identified in people 65 or older. It is estimated that every five years after 65, the risk of dementia doubles. At first, it is common to not notice. Everyone forgets their keys or an appointment every now and then. However, there are a few ways to recognize Alzheimer’s disease.

Memory Loss: Pay attention to your memory. While it is normal to forget an item at the grocery store, if you have dementia, these lapse in memory will become more and more frequent. It’s common to forget the day of the week or forget your medication. Eventually you may identify gaps in your recent memories, like forgetting who you met last week, or what happened yesterday.

Completing Task: You may have driven the same route for years, enjoyed a recipe, or enjoyed a craft or hobby. However, as Alzheimer’s becomes worse, you may forget how to complete the project in the middle of it.

Mood Swings: The issue is that it can be hard to self-identify Alzheimer’s. It creeps up and while others may notice, it’s easy for the person affected to not be aware of these cognitive lapses. Alzheimer’s disease can lead to some changes in your mood or cause you to become confused in social situations. Your loved ones may point out that your personality has shifted.

Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

Anything you can do to improve the health of your brain can also minimize the risk of developing dementia. While age is a huge and unmodifiable factor in the likeliness of the development of dementia, it doesn’t mean that it is certain. Other factors such as an active lifestyle, a healthy heart conscious diet, avoiding stress and a healthy social life all help increase cognitive health and decrease the risk of cognitive decline

The Connection Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Hearing Loss

Like dementia, the risk of hearing loss increases as we reach 65. One in three people over 65 deal with hearing loss and half of those over 75. While you may not think that hearing loss is as serious as dementia, the truth is that they are very connected. This is because, while hearing happens in the ears, comprehension occurs in the brain. As we lose more and more sound delivered to the auditory cortex of our brain, it creates cognitive strain.

If you’re living with untreated hearing loss, a study for Johns Hopkins by Dr. Frank Lin found that the risk of dementia is significantly higher. The study found that people with a mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia for those with moderate hearing loss the risk was tripled and found to be a five-fold risk for those with a severe loss.

Get Your Hearing Tested

The fight against Alzheimer’s starts with you. This disease starts with individuals but the devastating effects ripple through communities of those who love them. Like dementia, we are not always aware we have a hearing issue, but that does not mean that it isn’t affecting our cognitive health. One thing you can do to fight Alzheimer’s Disease this September is to schedule a hearing test. The tests are painless, easy and can identify if you are struggling with a hearing loss once and for all.

Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline

Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline (1)

Hearing loss affects an estimated 48 million people in the US alone and has far reaching side effects past obvious issues with hearing. Ultimately, hearing loss is a communication issue making it more difficult to connect to the people in your life. It can affect your personal life as well as your career, reverberating into your sense of self-worth, self-esteem and sense of independence. In addition to emotional impacts of hearing loss, struggling to hear can cause exhaustion. While we hear with our ears, we listen with our brain. When we cannot receive ample audio signals to our brain, cognitive decline can occur.

The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Numerous studies have found a strong connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline. Age related hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss, affecting one in three people over 65, and half of those over 75. While cognitive decline occurs as a natural part of aging, age related hearing loss, seems to escalate cognitive decline. Similarly, rates of cognitive decline, leading to dementia increase as you reach 65 years. The Alzheimer’s society reports that “Above the age of 65, a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia doubles roughly every 5 years. It is estimated that dementia affects one in 14 people over 65 and one in six over 80.”

What is Dementia?

Dementia is actually a grouping of many conditions related to the loss of cognitive functioning. This condition is estimated to affect half of all people over 85 years, while the most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease affects 62 million people in the US alone. Dementia affects thinking, remembering, reasoning and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it makes it hard to complete normal daily tasks and activities. Often people affected by dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may seem to change. Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells which interferes with the ability of brain cells to communicate with one another. However, several studies have found that untreated hearing loss, depending on the severity, can increase the risk of dementia significantly.

Hearing Loss Can Mimic Cognitive Decline 

Often people suspect that they are developing dementia when the symptoms of hearing loss can mimic this devastating brain disease. If you struggle to understand speech, or feel exhausted by regular conversation, you may be dealing with undiagnosed hearing loss. It’s important to check your hearing regularly to detect a hearing loss before it can develop further. Hearing loss has been linked to cognitive decline which can increase the likelihood of dementia.

What Research on Dementia and Hearing Loss Reveals

A Johns Hopkins study led by Dr. Frank R. Lin  examined cognitive impairment scores in over 2000 seniors, over a six year period. The study found that patients with hearing loss had a much faster and significant decline.

Can Hearing Aids Reverse Cognitive Decline?

The answer to this is still up for debate, however, several studies suggest that there is a chance that they can. Hearing aids can amplify the sounds you struggle with, making it much easier to follow conversation in noisy and quiet environments. This can increase connections, self-esteem and slowly lift chronic depression. Hearing aids also will allow your brain to take a well-deserved break from constant straining. Some studies suggest that hearing aid can delay the onset of cognitive impairment and dementia.

Seeking Treatment

If you find that you are struggling to hear the people in your life, this is a serious issue. The sooner you address even slight signs of hearing loss, the greater chance you can delay or prevent the development of cognitive decline and dementia. Dementia destroys lives, takes away memories from its victims and currently there is no cure for this disease. It’s important to take every precaution possible to prevent it from progressing. Prompt treatment can help you or your loved one stay connected to the activities and the people they love, avoiding social isolation and loneliness, commonly associated with hearing loss and dementia. Call today to set up an appointment for a hearing test. You have too much to lose to put this off another day! 

Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline

Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Do you think that hearing loss isn’t really affecting your life? While many Americans think their hearing loss isn’t a big deal, even mild hearing loss is linked to cognitive decline and an increased risk of dementia. Studies show that if you have a moderate or severe hearing loss, you’re far more likely to experience rapid cognitive decline.

Hearing Loss and the Brain

Hearing loss is caused by damage to the cells in your inner ear, but hearing loss isn’t just in your ears. It also has a profound impact on your brain. When the cells in your ear are damaged, they can’t send signals to the brain, and your brain doesn’t receive information about all the sounds around you. There are several ways hearing loss affects your brain:

– When you’re living with untreated hearing loss, your brain is straining to hear, and it works overtime trying to fill in the blanks in your hearing. You struggle to follow conversations, hear on the phone, or understand the speaker at an event. Hearing loss can tire the brain, making it hard for you to focus on tasks or maintain your cognitive abilities.

– Hearing loss can also lead to social isolation. It can be embarrassing to mishear what’s been said, and you may avoid meeting friends rather than spend the evening asking people to repeat themselves. Social isolation is also linked to cognitive decline, since without a lot of social interaction, your brain isn’t getting enough simulation to stay healthy.

– Finally, hearing loss can lead to brain atrophy. When your ears aren’t sending signals to the brain, the auditory regions of the brain aren’t stimulated. These areas can be damaged, leading to changes in learning, memory, and cognition.

Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Living with untreated hearing loss isn’t just about straining to hear, it’s closely linked to cognitive decline. A recent study by Dr. Frank Lin and colleagues shows that adults with hearing loss have a 24% higher risk of cognitive decline than adults who can hear. Even those with mild hearing loss risk more rapid cognitive decline.

Dr. Lin tested hearing and cognitive abilities in nearly 2,000 older adults, and his study revealed that adults with untreated hearing loss experienced more rapid cognitive decline. Adults with hearing loss have a harder time completing thinking and memory tasks, and show an earlier onset of cognitive decline. The rate of cognitive decline for adults with hearing loss was 40% faster than for adults without hearing loss!

How Treating Hearing Loss Can Help

Treating hearing loss with hearing aids can improve your quality of life in a number of ways. You’ll be able to follow conversations with loved ones and enjoy meeting friends in places with background noise. Hearing aids minimize distracting sounds to help you focus on what you want to hear. Hearing aids can even wirelessly connect to your phone so you can stream audio directly to your ears.

When you treat hearing loss, you can slow cognitive decline and reduce your risk of dementia. Hearing aids help your ears and your brain hear all the sounds around without putting a strain on the brain. You can feel confident meeting friends and being social, knowing that you’ll be able to hear each and every word. Finally, when you treat your hearing loss with hearing aids, you’ll keep your brain active and healthy.

Getting a Hearing Test

Have you been avoiding getting a hearing test? Maybe you don’t want to find out that your hearing isn’t as good as it once was. However, putting off your hearing test doesn’t change your hearing abilities, and avoiding treating hearing loss can lead to cognitive decline.

Schedule a hearing test with our team and find out more about your hearing loss. During the hearing test we’ll play a number of tones at both high and low pitches. All you have to do is let us know when you’ve heard a sound. Your results are displayed on an audiogram that shows you exactly which sounds you can hear, and which sounds you’re missing. With this hearing test, you’ll be able to find the perfect hearing aids to treat your hearing loss, and slow cognitive decline.

How Treating Hearing Loss Supports Your Brain

A hand holding a head with cogs inside of it

 

Hearing loss is a common part of aging, with approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 experiencing hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 having difficulty hearing. While this is normal, avoiding hearing loss treatment can have serious effects on your brain.

Neuroplasticity’s Effect on the Brain

A study done at the University of Colorado’s Department of Speech Language and Hearing Science examined neuroplasticity, which is how the brain reorganizes itself by forming new neuron connections throughout a lifetime.  The study explored how neuroplasticity effects the adaptation of the brain after the onset of hearing loss. The study explores the questions: How does the brain adapt to hearing loss and what are the implications?

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change at any age. While it was previously believed that the brain was at unable to grow and evolve, scientists now know this is not true. In the case of hearing loss, the area of the brain devoted to hearing can actually become reorganized, or reassigned to other functions. In this study the participants were adults and children with varying degrees of hearing loss. Some had only mild hearing loss while others were severely hearing impaired or deaf. Using up to 128 sensors attached to the scalp of each subject, the team of researchers used EEG recordings to measure brain activities in response to sound stimulation. In doing this, they were able to understand how the brains of people with different degrees of hearing loss respond differently than those of people with healthy hearing.

One of the most important discoveries researchers came away with on this study was when hearing loss occurs, areas of the brain devoted to other senses such as vision or touch will actually take over the areas of the brain which normally process hearing. It’s a phenomenon called cross-modal cortical reorganization, which is reflective of the brain’s tendency to compensate for the loss of other senses. Essentially, the brain adapts to a loss by rewiring itself.  While this re-organization is an impressive testament to the adaptability of the human mind this reorganization can have a seriously detrimental effect on cognition.

Even early stages of hearing loss can lead to cognitive decline.

Why Hearing Health Matters

Compensatory brain reorganization may explain why age-related hearing loss is so strongly correlated with dementia, and why it must be taken seriously. Even in the early stages of hearing loss, the brain begins to reorganize. Knowing this, the solution could be as simple as early hearing loss screening programs for adults. Getting ahead of the decline through early intervention could prevent long term cognitive issues down the road. Aside from the realization that hearing loss can affect the very memories that make up your life hearing loss effects so many aspects of mental and brain health.

Healthy hearing and early intervention in the event of any degree hearing loss are essential to maintaining strong cognitive function. According to an April 2014 study published in JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, 11.4% of adults with self-reported hearing impairment have moderate to severe depression, significantly larger than the 5.9% prevalence of depression for those with typical hearing.

When a person cannot hear properly, engaging in conversations is a daily struggle, and can lead to social isolation and depression. In people 65 years and older, hearing impairment is among the most common chronic conditions associated with depression. In addition to depression, hearing loss has been linked to schizophrenia. which supports the social defeat hypothesis. This hypothesis proposes that social exclusion and loneliness can predispose people to schizophrenia by an increase in sensitization of the dopamine system.

Prevent Cognitive Decline

While hearing aids have proven over and over again to help with hearing loss and cognitive decline, less than 25 percent of people who need hearing aids actually get them. The average time someone with hearing loss waits to seek treatment is seven years, which is a tremendous period of cognitive decline that is easily preventable.

Contact us at Hearing Consultants to set up a hearing test.  From your hearing test, we can diagnose exactly whether a hearing loss is present, and if so, the best way to treat it.  Contact us today and start the process to improving your hearing and cognitive health!

Hearing Impairment May Affect Visual Learning

Hearing Impairment May Affect Visual Learning

 

If you’re a parent, we know you want the best for your children. You work hard to provide them with everything they need, and give them all the love and attention they deserve. It can be heartbreaking to learn that your child has hearing loss, but don’t worry, we’re here to help. Not only will hearing loss affect your child’s ability to learn and grow, it could also affect visual learning, so it’s important to treat their hearing loss as soon as possible.

Studying Hearing Loss in Children

Many studies have looked at hearing loss in children, discovering how hearing loss affects children’s ability to grow and learn. Cognitive development in children with hearing loss is far slower than in children with clear hearing, and these differences start in early infancy. A new study by the Ohio State University College of Medicine looked at when these differences in cognitive abilities emerge.

To determine how children with hearing loss learn, and to find out how they fall so far behind their hearing peers, Clair Monroy and Derek Houston studied visual processing skills, and discovered that it takes hard of hearing babies far longer to become familiar with new objects, and learn about their surroundings. Not only is auditory processing affected, but a hearing impairment also affects the visual learning process!

Monroy and Houston tested 23 hearing infants and 23 deaf infants, and tested their visual processing skills. They showed the babies a colorful object on a screen, and when the baby encoded the object, they’d lose interest and look away. Infants who couldn’t hear looked at the object 30 seconds longer than hearing infants, or 40% slower than the hearing infants!

Learning at a Slower Pace

Children who struggle to hear often learn at a slower pace than their hearing peers. They are unable to focus on tasks, concentrate, or complete simple tasks. The fact that those with hearing loss are also slower at learning things visually comes as a surprise to many people. “This is somewhat counterintuitive because a lot of people assume that deaf children compensate for their lack of hearing by being better at processing visual things, but the findings of the study show the opposite.” Monroy explains.

For infants with hearing loss, learning about the world around them is a challenge. They’re not getting the input they need to make sense of the world, and may feel more lost and alone than their hearing peers. When they reach school age, they’ll have a hard time interacting with peers, paying attention to the teacher, and keeping up with the kids in the class.

Treating Hearing Loss

If your child has hearing loss, it’s of utmost importance that you treat their hearing loss as soon as possible. “Understanding the source of these differences can really help us tailor interventions specifically for these children,” Monroy said. “And the earlier that happens, the better.” You child needs clear hearing in order to learn about the world around them, engage with objects in their environment, and bond with family members. To give your child the life they deserve, invest in their hearing health.

Hearing loss is a growing issue among teens as well. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.1 billion young people are at risk for hearing loss. With advancements in technology and the ubiquitous use of electronic devices to stream audio, it is important to make sure that your teens are taking precautions. Preventative measures, such as adhering to the 60-60 rule (60% volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time), are important when it comes to protecting your little one’s hearing.

Hearing Consultants

When it comes to your hearing health, Hearing Consultants has you covered. Whether you need hearing devices or a loved one is struggling to hear, we’re here to help. Your journey to clear hearing for you and your entire family will start with a comprehensive hearing test, so we’ll get a clear picture of your hearing health and hearing needs. We’ll then recommend the perfect hearing devices that will match your lifestyle and hearing loss, and allow you to get back to hearing all the amazing sounds around you. Visit us at Hearing Consultants today.

 

Symptoms of Memory Loss Could Actually Be Hearing Loss

Symptoms of Memory Loss Could Actually Be Hearing Loss

 

The connection between hearing loss and cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have been clearly established in the medical literature. Researchers have shown that those who have hearing loss are statistically more likely to have dementia and the decline of cognitive ability among those who have hearing loss tends to be quicker, as well. However, the nature of that connection remains unclear. Some suspect that the two simply occur at the same time of life, and many experience both conditions at once. Yet, the statistical results of these studies demonstrate a stronger link than mere coincidence. This link may have a causal dimension. It is possible that having hearing loss actually makes it more likely to have a cognitive dysfunction, such as dementia.

A New Study on Hearing Loss & Memory

A recent study in the Canadian Journal on Aging demonstrated the possibility of this link. Dr. Susan Vandermorris is a neuropsychologist at Baycrest, and she led the study of the connection between memory loss, an early sign of dementia, and hearing loss. The majority of participants who were evaluated for memory, thinking, brain, and cognitive concerns had some form of hearing loss, ranging from mild to severe. Out of this group who had hearing loss, only about 20 percent were using assistance, such as hearing aids. This anomaly led the researchers to think more deeply about the connection between memory loss, hearing loss, and how we measure each condition.

A quarter of the participants in this study did not show any signs of memory loss due to a brain disorder, yet something led them to seek treatment. That something is often a loved one or family member. Clients who came seeking treatment tended to be urged by a close relative who has complained that they don’t seem to be paying attention that they don’t seem to be listening to what they have to say, or that they don’t remember what was said to them in conversation. As you can see, these conditions may be closely related to hearing loss. When a person seems to be checked out, unable to pay attention, or unable to remember details of conversations, each of these experiences is equally likely to be due to hearing loss as it is to memory loss.

The connection between memory loss and hearing loss is a puzzle that remains to be solved. Those who suspect that hearing loss may cause dementia point to the link between spoken language and cognition. When a person has hearing loss, the sounds that encounter the ears are a jumble of randomness. Fragments of words might break through, and sounds can be like the pieces of puzzle. The time expected for a person to understand a conversation is like putting a timer on the game, requiring the listener to quickly throw together random sounds into something meaningful, even when speech is unintelligible. You can imagine how difficult this process might be, creating a heavy cognitive load on the person with hearing loss. The mind is under constant assault during these conversations, with too much being expected of it and too few audible resources.

Many neuropsychologists suspect that this cognitive load can spill over into other areas of thought, and this relationship may even be responsible for memory loss and dementia. That being the case, this study points to two components of the relationship between hearing loss and memory loss. In the first instance, a loved one may simply mistake hearing loss for memory loss. When a person cannot hear what is said, she or he will have no opportunity to remember it! In the other case, it is possible that hearing loss may actually be a risk factor for developing memory loss and more advanced dementia.

Seeking Treatment for Hearing Loss

With these two components of the relationship between hearing loss and memory loss, it is more urgent than ever to seek assistance for hearing problems. At Hearing Consultants, we provide comprehensive hearing tests. If a hearing loss is detected, treating hearing loss with the use of hearing aids can make an incredible difference in your ability to understand, think, and remember, especially when it comes to face-to-face conversations. The first step is the simplest. Call us at Hearing Consultantsto make an appointment for a hearing test and consultation to embark on the path toward healthy hearing once again.  

 

Treating Hearing Loss is an Important Part of Caring for Your Health as You Age

Treating Hearing Loss is an Important Part of Caring for Your Health as You Age

 

As you age your hearing will inevitably become more strained. Age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis, is the loss of hearing that gradually occurs in most of us as we grow older. Approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. Are you worried about your hearing loss worsening over time? Not sure if you’re experiencing hearing loss? Here are five types of exercises you can do to help boost your hearing abilities!

Solving Puzzles to Combat Hearing Loss

The brain plays major role in processing sound information our ear receives.  It’s important not to ignore it. Research shows that there are links between hearing loss and mental conditions such as anxiety and depression. This may be a result of brain atrophy, which occurs when brain cells and connections shrink. Like muscles, your brain needs a workout to stay in shape and continue pumping.

Solving a variety of puzzles such as crossword puzzles, word searches, and Sudoku throughout the week are fun exercises that get your brain working to prevent atrophy. Playing bingo with your friends, and card games such as hearts and poker, are more great ways to work out your brain and combat hearing loss.

Do Yoga to Improve Your Hearing

Yoga is widely practiced for its many health benefits. There are even yoga exercises that help with your hearing as well! The goal of these exercises is to increase circulation in your ears and your brain, since increased circulation helps improve nerve functions and forces out harmful toxins.

Yoga poses that help with circulation include the tree pose, lotus pose, cobra pose, and triangle pose. Yoga can also help with tinnitus and an overall sense of peace and calm.  There are many videos online if there are no yoga classes in your area, so take advantage of this great way to protect your hearing.

Exercise Daily to Maintain your Hearing

Keeping your body in shape is important for keeping your ears and brain healthy. Exercise every day by going out for a walk, taking a jog, or even just gardening.  You could even turn your housework into an exercise routine. Anything to get your blood pumping and circulation going strong is good for your hearing health.

Try not to exercise with headphones, earphones, or any source of loud music, because repeated exposure to loud noise can damage ear cells, which are irreplaceable. If you decide to exercise with music, keep the volume relatively quiet and comfortable. As a rule, if other people around you can ear the music playing in your headphones or earbuds, your music is too loud.

Meditate to Improve Your Hearing

Meditate in your backyard or a park, or anywhere you will be surrounded by gentle sounds. As you meditate, take deep breaths to help blood circulation and increase oxygen in your body. Focus on each sound around you and try to locate where each sound is coming from. This exercise will relax you, and also help you concentrate on deciphering sounds in noisy environments by determining the location of each sound.

Practice Focusing on and Locating Sounds to Sharpen your Hearing

Hearing exercises can help you hone in on where sounds are coming from and who or what is making the sounds. There are exercises you can do with a friend or loved one to improve your hearing health.  Place a Bluetooth speaker or radio in one area of the room, and play music at a comfortable volume. Place another sound source in a different area of the room, and turn up the volume until the combination of the two sounds creates a noisy environment.

Have someone move around the room while reading sentences from a book or newspaper. Close your eyes, repeat the sentence back to them, and try to locate where the person is standing in the room.

Hearing Consultants

It is normal for hearing to decline with age, but with some of these daily exercises you can practice harm reduction to slow this process.  These are only a few of the  exercises that can keep your hearing and brain in shape. If you’ve noticed any recent changes to your hearing health, visit us today at Hearing Consultants for a hearing test.

Cognitive Difficulties and Untreated Hearing Loss

Cognitive difficulties and untreated hearing loss

 

September is World Alzheimer’s month and it seems only fitting we talk about untreated hearing loss. Why? Because untreated hearing loss has been linked to the onset of dementia, the most common form of Alzheimer’s. You shouldn’t delay getting a hearing evaluation at Hearing Consultants.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a brain condition that affects parts of the brain that control cognitive processes – thought, memory and language. It is not a normal part of aging. It shrinks parts of the brain cells. Dementia is a form of Alzheimer’s and 60 to 80% of those with dementia have it because of Alzheimer’s. There is no cure, but there are certain things you can do to combat Alzheimer’s and one of them is maintaining good hearing. Numerous studies done here, in Europe and in Asia have discovered what is likely a link between untreated hearing loss and the on set of dementia.

The most common symptoms of dementia are memory loss and the loss of cognitive abilities which in turn leads to withdrawing from society and work.
Forgetfulness should not be confused with dementia although memory loss is one of the first signs. Forgetfulness is misplacing your keys because you took them out of your pocket and set them down. Memory loss is walking into the park where you’ve walked hundreds of times before and not remembering which path to take to get out.

Early stage indicators

Alzheimer’s typically starts to manifest around 65 or so – but can show up earlier. Hearing loss and Alzheimer’s advance slowly, but untreated hearing loss increases the odds of dementia and, unlike dementia – it can be treated!
Some early indicators of Alzheimer’s include: getting lost in familiar places, trouble finding common words to describe common objects, trouble handling money and paying bills, repeating the same question in conversations in a very short span of time, taking longer to complete every day tasks, displaying poor judgement, losing things or misplacing them in odd places, paranoia and distrust of family and caregivers and mood and personality changes.

It’s use it or lose it

We’ve all seen that information on how to keep your brain sharp to avoid Alzheimer’s and that is, actually, one way,. There’s also exercise, eating healthy, and getting high blood pressure treated; obesity is a factor and untreated hearing loss.

The idea is that processing sounds correctly sends auditory signals to the brain. It keeps that part of the brain active and engaged. Over time, if you don’t treat hearing loss, those parts of the brain that process sound start to go dark – literally. Brain imaging of those with untreated hearing loss and dementia show portions of the brain are dark or not being used.

Hearing devices, luckily, fire those parts of the brain back up. Those with dementia and untreated hearing loss do show improvement in cognitive abilities with the addition of hearing aids, studies show.

Nearly 48 million Americans have hearing loss and unfortunately, statistics show many wait between three and five years to get hearing loss treated. During that time, the brain strains to “hear” and process sounds and conversations. This can result in a sort of cognitive overload which may hasten dementia. Scientists explain it as diverting brain power that should be used for cognitive purposes to trying to decipher and process sounds.

Isolation also a factor

Untreated hearing loss can cause you to withdraw from societal interaction. You may not want people to notice you can’t hear things or process a conversation. These interactions also help keep the brain sharp. There are some indications that depression associated with societal withdrawal because of untreated hearing loss can also increase the chances of dementia.

Hearing devices can help

The first step towards hearing health is scheduling a hearing evaluation at Hearing Consultants. A painless hearing exam will determine if you have hearing loss and the staff professionals can then set you on a course for better hearing health. Hearing aid styles these days range from oh-so-tiny devices that fit discreetly inside your ear to over the ear devices tinted to match your skin or hair. Most people can’t tell if it’s a hearing aid or a Bluetooth device! It’s not worth delaying even a day – call for a test today.