Hearing Problems Can Become Memory Problems

A mature couple dancing at home. Photo courtesy of Holy City Hearing.

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Difficulty hearing can contribute to memory problems because much of the brain is spent deciphering and processing sound. During a spoken exchange, “the frontal lobe is working in overdrive to figure out what might have been said, using context and lip reading,” said hearing specialist and Holy City Hearing co-owner Derrick Woods. “It’s occupied with understanding and not using itself for memory or logic.”

When it’s difficult to hear, it can be difficult to understand what’s being said and keep up with the conversation ­– and as hearing loss progresses, people sometimes simply quit trying.

“They avoid social situations and especially large family gatherings,” said Nancy Woods, Holy City Hearing co-owner and customer care manager. “They just don’t want to be there because they can’t follow along with what the conversation is, and they never know what the joke is. They become isolated, depressed and less socially active and therefore less mentally engaged.”

It’s important to get the visual attention of someone with hearing loss. Family members should avoid talking from another room and should instead converse in spaces where visual attention can be achieved.

To address hearing loss through treatment, Holy City Hearing begins by testing different levels of hearing loss. The result is an audiogram, a graph showing exactly where the hearing loss lies in reference to normal hearing and what frequencies you hear certain consonants in, which will explain why some words are more easily misunderstood than others.

If you have a hearing loss, Holy City Hearing will counsel and advise on the best treatment options based on the level of hearing loss, lifestyle and budget.

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If if turns out that hearing aids are the best option, they should be worn all the time, not just when other people are around.

“It’s really important for balance and mental stimulation,” said Nancy Woods, adding that listening for environmental stimuli like ice dropping or the air conditioning kicking on is good practice for locating sound, understanding exactly where it is coming from and ultimately keeping the body balanced.

To learn more, visit holycityhearing.com.

By Molly Sherman

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