A new year brings new beginnings, resolutions, and a hope for a brighter tomorrow. A new year, a new you! With the new year around the corner, it is the perfect time to pursue better hearing! Did you know that hearing is one of the most complex systems of the body? Or that it directly influences other functions of the body? It’s true! Hearing loss can actually affect mental and cognitive health. If left untreated long enough, it can have a significant impact on both. In fact, hearing loss is linked to decreased energy, depression, isolation, anxiety, as well as Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.

Backed by extensive research, we now know that hearing loss can cause physical alterations to the brain. Johns Hopkins University was the first to publish research on this topic. They discovered that hearing loss increased the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s by five-fold. This is because hearing loss is linked with a decrease in brain volume, as well as significant shrinkage in areas of the brain critical for functions such as language processing. Additionally, substantial decreases in gray matter (the cells that help the brain process information) have been observed in patients with high frequency hearing loss. Simply put, degradation sets in when the ear can no longer distinguish sound at normal thresholds (or at all) and the brain stops processing these sounds. The result is atrophy and the brain must overcompensate to the detriment of other brain functions, namely cognition.

Hearing loss also affects mental heath. Long-standing evidence shows a direct link between hearing loss and depression, anxiety, and isolation. Some studies have even reported depression and isolation rates as high as 80% in those with hearing loss. Much of this is due to the loss of human connection and energy exertion from straining to hear and understand. While mental health is a major health concern that gets far less attention than it should, thankfully, it has been recognized in the audiology community and is considered a priority when educating patients on hearing loss and hearing technology.

With so much at stake, time is of the essence when treating hearing loss. The ear-brain connection has shone a bright light on the importance of approaching hearing health with a wider lens. These research developments have given hearing care providers a powerful tool to counsel patients on the importance of prioritizing hearing health. The providers at Pro Hearing are dedicated to staying up to date on latest research to deliver the highest standard comprehensive hearing care to our patients. Our goal is to lead people toward better health through better hearing! If you or a loved one have been putting off treating hearing loss, the new year is a good time to begin. To learn more about hearing loss, treatment options or the ear-brain connection, call us today!

NW Oklahoma City: CALL 405-775-9875

SW Oklahoma City:  CALL 405-378-4165

Dr. Pam Matthews, Audiologist
Pro Hearing, LLC
9409 N May Avenue and 10404 S Pennsylvania Ave
Oklahoma City, OK