If your brain is not getting what it needs, it can affect your hearing and your cognitive function.

The Link between Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults

by | Oct 6, 2022 | Hearing Loss, Hearing Test, Patient Resources

Multiple studies from the past forty years prove that there is a link between severe hearing loss and cognitive decline, which means that if a hearing loss is not treated promptly, a person’s cognitive brain function can decline by 30 to 54%.

One of the studies by an associate professor at John Hopkins University said that a severe hearing loss can put a person at a 24% higher risk of developing cognitive decline than someone with no hearing loss.

The best way to reduce this risk is with the early detection of any signs of cognitive decline and treating the cause properly, which might be a hearing loss. And the positive news is that when a person’s hearing loss is treated promptly, the risk of the brain’s processing ability declining is reduced by 17% – keeping your hearing can keep you cognitive.

In addition to regular comprehensive hearing assessments, Upstate Hearing Aid Center offers cognitive screenings using Clarity by Cognivue diagnostic technology for residents in Greenville, SC, and its surrounding areas.

But how can a cognitive appraisal help?

The Effects of Hearing Loss on Cognitive Function

There are many causes of hearing loss, and quite a few of them are medical conditions that affect blood flow to the brain, such as cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Interestingly enough, your hearing can also be affected by a lack of exercise, which affects blood flow too. If your brain is not getting what it needs, it can affect your hearing and then your cognitive ability.

Hearing is a cognitive process, and audiologists are experts on all of the causes of hearing loss and how poor brain health can affect your auditory system, which is why having an audiologist provide your hearing care is so vital.

At Upstate Hearing Aid Center, we not only have the privilege of getting to know you thanks to your regular visits; we also get to recognize anything different about your hearing early on. We also get to recognize any change in your cognitive function if we do regular cognitive screening.

How Can a Person Be Screened for Cognitive Impairment?

Cognitive screening is a way to assess a person’s brain function with a series of simple tests of your letter and word recognition and memory, shape and motion recognition and memory, motor skills, visual alertness, and abstract thought patterns and focus.

Also evaluated is the amount of time it takes your brain to process and responds to what is seen and heard.

The Clarity by Cognivue testing tool Upstate Hearing Aid Center uses is FDA approved and has been refined many times over the last fifteen years to become the respected assessment test it is today.

How Does a Cognitive Test Work?

The screening test only takes about 15 minutes from beginning to end, and you can do it while seated in a room on your own to ensure privacy.

  1. First, an introductory video explains what to do and gives you a few practices tries to make sure you understand the directions.
  2. Then the 10-minute test begins, and it works much like the wheel of a voting machine in that you turn the wheel to pick the picture you think answers the question you were asked. The last minute of the test tells you what happens next.
  3. Once you finish the test, we can see the results immediately and see if there are any changes in them compared to the last test you took. If this is the first test you take, then we can keep it as a baseline to measure all future tests against.

Rest assured that this is no pass or fail kind of test. It is purely an assessment tool to help medical professionals keep your brain health as good as possible.

Test Your Cognitive Function With a Simple Assessment in Greenville, SC.

What Are the Benefits of a Cognitive Function Test?

Cognitive screening focuses more on the current way your brain is functioning, and it helps us know if you might have a new medical issue that hasn’t yet been treated.

We always recommend that you get a hearing check every year or two once you reach the age of 55 because that’s when hearing loss becomes more common. What we love about having you do a cognitive screening test at the same time is that we can get an idea of anything going on in your brain that might damage your hearing loss further and catch it early.

If a medical issue shows up in your test results, we can refer you to the right medical professional for further assessment, and if the results are not medically related, we can adjust your hearing treatment to make sure that all the essential parts of your auditory system are being targeted with the best course of treatment.

Interested in Screening Your Cognitive Function?

There is so much value to evaluating your brain function yearly, as mentioned above. It’s possible that we find the early signs of something you haven’t even noticed yourself yet. You might even have noticed small signs of memory loss, difficulty finding the right words for things, or decision-making struggles and would like peace of mind regarding your brain function.

 If you or a loved one would like to take a cognitive screening test, you can book an appointment at Upstate Hearing Aid Center here. Many of our patients like to book it for the same day as their yearly hearing test.

We look forward to helping you maintain the best hearing and cognitive health possible. Feel free to call us at (864) 999-0261 with any questions you have.

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Daniel Hewson, M.S. Audiology/Owner

Born and raised in Western New York, Dan Hewson comes to our practice with over 25 years of experience in the field. With a master’s degree in audiology from SUNY Fredonia, Mr. Hewson has extensive experience working in several of the largest Otolaryngology practices in the country, and also as a Regional Manager with Siemens Medical Audiology Division. Father, husband and full time employee with us, Dan is currently a student working to earn his doctorate in audiology. Dan was naturally attracted to the field of audiology because he grew up with moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss. He has followed hearing aid development, research and rehabilitation. If you want to know what hearing impairment is really about and how hearing devices can change your life, Dan Hewson is the one to ask. He’s been wearing hearing aids since childhood (44 years) and has an intimate understanding of the hearing impaired. His personal hearing device story is fascinating and illuminating for anyone, but especially for those who may be hesitant about the hearing rehabilitation process.

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