Woman with hearing loss happy to have her freedom and independence while riding in a convertible.

Remember getting your very first car? Nothing can be compared to that feeling of independence. You could go anywhere, when you wanted, with whoever you wanted. Many people who have loss of hearing have this exact same experience when they invest in their first hearing aids.

How can getting your first hearing aids compare to getting your first car? It’s not just the well known reasons for using hearing aids, but also the subtle factors that can restore your independent lifestyle. Come to find out, your hearing has a powerful impact on your brain’s functionality.

Neuroplasticity

Your brain’s ability to react to changes can be illustrated with the following example: Taking the exact same way as you always have, you leave for work. You soon find that there is an accident stopping you from going through. What would be your response to this problem? Would you just quit and go back home? Unless of course you’re looking for an excuse to not go to work, most likely not. Finding a different way to go is most likely what you would choose to do. For as long as your primary route was closed this new route would become your new everyday routine. If the new route ended up being more efficient, you would substitute the old one with it.

When a normal brain function is blocked, your brain does the exact same thing. The brain reroutes its processing down alternative pathways, and this re-routing process is called neuroplasticity.

Learning new abilities such as playing an instrument, or learning a brand new language are achieved by neuroplasticity. It also helps you build healthy habits. Little by little, the physical changes to the brain adjust to correspond to the new pathways and once-challenging tasks become automatic. Although neuroplasticity can be beneficial for learning new things, it’s also just as good at causing you to you forget what you know.

Neuroplasticity And Loss of Hearing

Hearing loss is the perfect example of how neuroplasticity has a negative impact on your day-to-day life. As explained in The Hearing Review, The pathways inside of your brain will immediately begin to get re-purposed if they quit processing sound according to a study done by the University of Colorado. This is something you may not want it to be doing. The link between hearing loss and cognitive decline can be explained by this.

The areas of your brain that are responsible for hearing will get re-purposed for other functions such as vision and touch. The available resources inside your brain used to process sound are lessened and so is your ability to understand speech.

So, if you are constantly asking people to repeat themselves, loss of hearing has already started. In addition, it might be a more substantial problem than damage to your inner ear, it’s probable that the untreated hearing loss has induced your brain structure to change.

How Hearing Aids Can Help You

As with most things, you get both a negative and positive side to this astonishing ability. Neuroplasticity elevates the performance of your hearing aids even though it may possibly make your hearing loss worse. You can really make the most of advanced hearing aid technology thanks to your brain’s amazing ability to regenerate tissue and reroute neural pathways. As the hearing aids stimulate the parts of the brain that regulate hearing loss, they encourage mental growth and development.

In fact, a long-term study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Cognitive decline was minimized in people with hearing aids, according to this study. The study, titled Self-Reported Hearing Loss: Hearing Aids and Cognitive Decline in Elderly Adults: A 25-year Study, followed over three thousand adults over the age of 65. The study showed that people with hearing loss had a higher rate of cognitive decline. However, people that used hearing aids to correct their hearing loss displayed no difference in the rate of cognitive decline compared to those with normal hearing.

We already understood quite a bit about neuroplasticity and this research verifies that understanding: if you don’t use it you will end up losing it because the brain organizes its functions according to the amount of stimulation it receives and the need at hand.”

Having a Youthful Brain

The brain is powerful and can change itself at any time regardless of your age. You should also take into consideration that hearing loss can hasten mental deterioration and that this decline can be decreased or even averted by wearing hearing aids.

Don’t discount your hearing aids as simple over-the-counter sound amplifiers. According to leading brain plasticity expert Dr. Michael Merzenich, by challenging yourself to engage in new activities, being active socially, and maybe even practicing mindfulness you can help improve your brain’s functionality regardless of your age is.

To ensure your quality of life, hearing aids are a must have. People who have loss of hearing may become withdrawn or isolated. If you want to stay active and independent, invest in a pair of hearing aids. After all, you want your brain to continue receiving stimulation and processing the sounds that you hear so it will stay as young as you feel!

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