By W.L. “Hunter” Huntley, III, HAS., BC-HIS –
Healthy brain function is not usually the first subject that comes to mind. However, keeping your brain “properly” stimulated is one way to ward off maladies such as dementia and Alzheimers disease. Our brain is the most complicated and delicate organ of the body. Therefore, it needs constant stimulation. Crossword puzzles, reading, number calculations, and other forms of “mental” gymnastics are all forms of brain exercises.
However, the most important part of our brain for speech interpretation is completely different. Our brains need constant “proper” stimulation to stay sharp. Like our muscles, lack of exercise leads to atrophy!
The only way to keep our brains “properly” stimulated for individuals with hearing loss is to wear hearing instruments.
When worn consistently, hearing devices stimulate and keep our brain sharp. Hearing Instrument wearers will also experience an overall since of well-being and confidence; more than individuals that do not seek hearing solutions.
Those who wear hearing instruments also tend to be more active socially, report to be more intimate with loved ones, and have greater earning potential on average. This is sometimes due to a perceived indifference to directions from co-workers or supervisors to perform certain tasks, or perhaps not hearing the instructions or directions at all!
In the long run hearing impairments cost workers millions of dollars per year across the country. Over the course of a lifetime hearing loss if not addressed could change a family’s lifestyle drastically.
Men are more likely to suffer from hearing loss for a number of reasons; including industrial noise, military service, power tools, airplane, car, and boat engines. Lawnmowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, firearms, and loud music are also devastating to the nerves of the inner ear.
Generally, we tend to lose hearing in the higher frequencies (consonants) first; where clarification of speech occurs. When the higher frequencies deteriorate, a person can still hear, but clarifying what is said becomes a problem. Many individuals with high frequency loss do not even realize a problem exists, because they still hear low frequency sounds (vowels) normally, but don’t understand what is being said.
Modern hearing devices are light years ahead of the older technology even from a few years ago. Digital technology now allows the hearing impaired individuals hearing instruments to be prescription fitted with computer chips; similar to eyeglasses. However, unlike your vision when a person’s hearing loss diminishes over time, the current digital devices can be re-programmed to compensate for additional hearing loss without the necessity of purchasing newer hearing devices.
Johns Hopkins Medical University in conjunction with the National Institute on Aging recently completed studies of individuals who have hearing loss, but do not wear hearing instruments. The study concluded the people with even mild hearing loss were twice as likely to contract dementia and Alzheimers disease. Those with severe hearing impairment are five times as likely to suffer from dementia and Alzheimers disease. This occurs because the portion of the brain that interprets speech is not “properly” stimulated, causing atrophy and loss of function. We hear with our brain!
The National Speech and Hearing Institute recommends annual hearing exams for individuals fifty five years of age or older, or if you suspect there might be a deterioration in hearing overall. Just like annual exams for vision, hearing exams should be included in our desire to maintain the best health possible.
Early detection is the key to overcoming any health issues. For a FREE HEARING EXAM: Call 997-8288 to set up an appointment.