Your annual physical has either happened or is on its way, and your physician will likely ask for routine blood work, check your blood pressure, and will review your general health overall. It is more than likely that your hearing health will not be part of this annual check-up, and recent research indicates that hearing and untreated hearing loss is a valuable item missing from that list.
A report released in December 2017 stated that “An increase in childhood education and exercise, maintaining social engagements, reducing or stopping smoking, and management of hearing loss, depression, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity could all contribute to prevention or delay of dementia,” with hearing loss shown as being one of the largest modifiable risk factors in mid-life. The question remains, why aren’t physicians asking about hearing and hearing loss?
It is only in the recent past that untreated hearing loss has been investigated with respect to how it affects overall health and brain health. While hearing happens in the ear and in the periphery, it’s easy to forget that the brain is doing all of the work processing the sounds a person hears, and making those sounds make sense. When hearing loss is present, other parts of the brain need to be accessed, increasing cognitive load. Some researchers believe this could play a role in the effects untreated hearing loss has to brain health over time.
The take home message here is, if you think you might be struggling with hearing loss, a baseline hearing test is a good idea! The tests are sometimes complimentary or a nominal amount and the information gained is invaluable. Try our online hearing loss questionnaire: https://thehearingroom.ca/hearing-loss-questionnaire/ or click on the online hearing test on our homepage: https://thehearingroom.ca/ and see how you do.
Call your local audiologist for a hearing test today, or swing by The Hearing Room for more information!
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- Campbell et. Al., Compensatory changes in cortical resource allocation in adults with hearing loss. Front Syst Neurosci. 2013; 7: 71. Published online 2013 Oct 25. Prepublished online 2013 Sep 11.doi: 3389/fnsys.2013.00071
- Livingston,G., Sommerlad, A., Orgeta, V., et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care. The Lancet Commissions. 2017; 390: 2673–2734 .