How can hearing aids help to improve your speech and memory?
Posted on Jun 9, 2016
It's fascinating to watch young children interact with their environment. The delight when they first realise that banging something against another object makes a noise is such a small wondrous act to them. Or, watching them trying to emulate the sounds we make, when first learning to talk.
This can all lead back to their hearing. They hear a noise produced as a result of their actions or try and imitate the sounds they hear. It can be safely assumed, then, that any hearing loss is likely to inhibit speech and language development, whether in a child or an adult.
Over time, nuances in interpreting sounds can alter our speech. This can impact other aspects of our lives, such as memory, and in turn, our emotional wellbeing, as we find more challenges in communication.
So, what can be done about it?
If hearing loss is untreated, symptoms can gradually worsen. That's why it is important to go for regular tests, which increases the chances of discovering any changes in your hearing as early as possible.
Following on from confirming you may have hearing loss, finding the right hearing devices and implementing the necessary preventative and protective techniques can stop your symptoms of hearing loss from worsening.
Hearing aids are one such solution, and help by reducing the strain on your ears and consequently, cognitive abilities, as you try to interpret others talking. Communication skills, including speech and cognitive processing ability, can improve, as your hearing is enhanced due to hearing devices.
Hear it out for hearing aids
The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) recently released a report of a study, conducted by Jamie Desjardins1. The assistant professor investigated the correlation between wearing hearing aids and brain function, and found an interesting positive response.
Participants of the study, people with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss in their 50s and 60s, took a series of basic cognitive tests before and after the use of hearing aids. Prior to this study, they had never used an aid before.
Results showed that after only two weeks of using a hearing device, there were already improvements in their cognitive abilities. This included recalling words (short-term memory) and processing sounds and information faster. At the conclusion of the study, these results proved significant.
How can hearing loss impact other aspects of health?
We've explained how hearing loss increases feelings of isolation and frustration. In the report of the UTEP study, Ms Desjardins explains that it can also cause mental fatigue, especially at work, when devoting so much concentration on trying to keep up with conversations:
"They may not be able to perform their job as well. Or if they can, they're exhausted because they are working so much harder. They are more tired at the end of the day and it's a lot more taxing. It affects their quality of life."
An impairment in your hearing abilities has also been independently associated with many other health issues, such as depression and dementia2.
Using a solution such as a hearing aid can reduce the severity of these issues, with a positive impact on both your physical and mental health when doing so. And happiness, we've found, is a key contributor to good health.
It just goes to show that you should never shy away from using your hearing devices if your audiologist has prescribed them.
Make sure that you are using the right solutions, by going for a regular no cost* hearing test. Click here to make a booking, or call us on 1300 308 125 today.
1The University of Texas at El Paso, UTEP Professor Shows That Hearing Aids Improve Memory, Speech. Accessed May, 2016.
2The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, Hearing loss health care for older adults. Accessed May, 2016.