How Can Hearing Loss Affect the Brain?
Hearing loss refers to a problem with one or more parts of the ear or part of the brain that controls hearing. If you experience hearing impairment, you may not be able to hear sounds or anything at all. Some studies have shown that over 14% of Americans experience some degree of hearing loss. The medical problem can affect your life in many ways. For example, it may be hard for you to follow discussions during a conversation.
Some researchers have revealed that hearing loss leads to a faster cognitive decline rate. Most people believe that hearing loss is a stand-alone medical condition. However, research has shown that other concerns are associated with the problem that shouldn’t be ignored. According to some medical researchers, hearing loss directly impacts memory and brain function.
When it comes to hearing, most people think about the ears, but in reality, it’s the brain that is responsible for hearing. Understanding the brain’s role in hearing is key to understanding how hearing loss occurs. Here’s how hearing loss can affect your brain:
Understanding Auditory Deprivation
Auditory deprivation occurs when the brain is deprived of sound. One of the leading causes of the problem is hearing loss. As you get older, the brain loses its ability to process sound.
With time, some parts of the brain start shrinking, affecting people who experience any form of hearing loss. If you experience auditory deprivation, it means you’ll have difficulties understanding and processing information.
Note that hearing is a brain activity. The ears deliver sound as impulses through the nerves, but it’s within the brain that the impulses are translated into sounds. When fewer sounds get into the brain, it reacts by shifting its operations. For example, some parts of your brain involved in audio processing may switch to other processes.
One of the common medical conditions in this category is high blood pressure. This is because it’s known to be a significant cause of the cognitive decline and hearing loss. Some researchers used statistical techniques when evaluating the factors associated with the two medical conditions.
According to some medical researchers, straining the brain can add a lot of stress to the brain. This is because putting too much effort into understanding what you hear can remove the resources that would help during encoding. Some scientists are researching to understand whether treating hearing impairment in people with dementia can improve communication.
The Brain Structure
Some studies have suggested that hearing loss can damage the brain’s structure. If that happens, individuals experience cognitive problems. Some reports from brain imaging studies have shown that people with hearing loss tend to have less gray matter in the brain.
Are You Experiencing Hearing Loss?
If yes, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans experience a form of hearing loss. Once you have realized you have the problem, you should seek immediate medical attention before the condition worsens. Beltone Skoric Hearing Aid Center is here for you. Contact us today for hearing exams and get award-winning devices.