This Brain Awareness Week, hearing aid technology innovators, Oticon, explain how today’s hearing aids are improving the performance and long term health of the brain by delivering sound in the most effective way. Much research today shows that using hearing aids to address hearing loss can actually delay the onset of serious illnesses such as dementia.
Hearing aid manufacturer, Oticon, has studied the brain’s role in hearing for over two decades and is the hearing industry’s leading voice and technology innovator for supporting the brain to make sense of sound. This Brain Awareness Week, Oticon would like to take the opportunity to stress how important effectively addressing hearing loss can be for brain health and functionality, and how well-fitted hearing aids have consistently been shown to improve quality of life significantly.
Within the last five years there have been significant advances in the understanding of the physiological consequences of hearing loss. Most people automatically associate hearing loss with their ears, unaware that their brain is actually the main tool for hearing, responsible for processing sound and converting it into useful information. With a hearing loss your brain is denied the complete sound picture and has to use considerable effort to compensate, drawing on resources that should be used for other functions, such as creating memories.
Research into the how the brain is affected by hearing loss is ever increasing. For example, researchers around the world are demonstrating that hearing loss is associated with a higher risk of depression and serious cognitive conditions, including dementia. There is also a growing body of evidence showing that an untreated hearing loss will actually lead to changes in your brain. The good news is that new research also demonstrates that if you use hearing aids to address your hearing loss you may see a delay in getting diagnosed for serious illnesses and experiencing conditions such as dementia, depression, anxiety and injurious falls. The recent study of health insurance data even revealed that by wearing hearing aids, in less than 3 years older adults with hearing loss reduced their risk of Alzheimers by 17% and depression by 14%.i
“Most people living with hearing loss are completely unaware that the brain undergoes an extra cognitive work-out when managing sound with a hearing loss. The results can be threatening to your health, especially as the consequences of the extra effort required from the brain, such as fatigue, bad sleep and social isolation, can accelerate the brain’s natural aging processii, said Thomas Behrens, Chief Audiologist, Oticon. “We are really proud to be developing innovative technologies that support the brain’s ability to make sense of sound, thanks to our pioneering BrainHearing™ research and development. Brain Awareness Week provides us with the perfect opportunity to raise awareness on just how important good hearing is for keeping the brain healthy and active. And we hope will inspire the millions of people living with untreated hearing loss to take action.”
Read more about Oticon BrainHearing™ here.
500 million people worldwide suffer from hearing loss. The majority are over the age of 50 while eight percent are under the age of 18. Oticon's vision is to create a world where people are no longer limited by hearing loss. A world where hearing aids fit seamlessly into life and help people realise their full potential, while avoiding the health consequences of hearing loss. Oticon develops and manufactures hearing aids for both adults and children and supports every kind of hearing loss from mild to profound and we pride ourselves on developing some of the most innovative hearing aids in the market. Headquartered in Denmark, we are a global company and part of Demant with more than 15,000 employees and revenues of over DKK 14 billion. Changing technology. Changing conventions. Changing lives. Oticon – Life-changing hearing technology. www.oticon.global
iMahmoudi et al. (2019) “Can Hearing Aids Delay Time to Diagnosis of Dementia, Depression, or Falls in Older Adults?”
iiMaharani et al., (2018) “Longitudinal Relationship Between Hearing Aid Use and Cognitive Function in Older Americans”, J. Am. Geriatrics Soc.