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The Brain-Ear connection

Posted on April 3, 2018

The Brain-Ear connection

The topic of the brain-ear connection has been discussed for many years in the world of researchers, but what does it really mean and why should you care? By understanding how important this connection is, it changes everything you know about good hearing health and the importance of acting sooner than later.

In the past, it was thought that a hearing problem was only affecting the ability to hear the volume of sound. You could witness the hard of hearing making mistakes in understanding words correctly, and by raising your voice and repeating yourself a few times, eventually, the message was understood.

It seemed more of an annoyance having to repeat everything, than a real concerning problem. I have heard some people say, “They just have selective hearing.” Or, “they choose not to listen” and even dismiss the problem with “it’s normal for my age”.

Perception of hearing loss

Our perception of hearing loss and the degree of its difficulty has been misunderstood by people with normal hearing for many years. With research studying the effects of hearing loss and now understanding that hearing loss is much more complex than just needing sounds to be louder, we need to recognize and recommend action to be taken sooner than later.

What about the Brain-Ear connection?

The brain receives signals from the ears. The brain perceives, identifies, clarifies, compartmentalizes, and responds to what the ear is sending to it. When the brain begins to lose critical information from the ear, it can’t maintain the same processes. We cannot reason with lack of information. We cannot comprehend the information if the information is full of holes.

The brain, in its capacity to reason, begins to discard bits of information because it is incomplete and/or unimportant. For example, imagine someone with a hearing loss, and because there is damage to the ear the brain only receives perhaps 20% of the information. How can someone make an intelligent decision with all the misinformation; the mumbling voices and the garbled speech? How long before the brain says it’s not relevant and unimportant and discards it?

Effects of deterioration

After years of gradual deteriorated hearing loss, which seems normal for those who are experiencing it, and lack of stimulation, the brain tissue begins to shrink at a faster rate affecting cognitive abilities and further auditory decline. Numerous studies show how brain tissue shrinkage can influence Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression, the risk of falling and other serious health issues, as well as social and economic influences. We hear in the brain, and when the ears no longer send the correct amount of stimulation, the brain suffers.

Hearing aids can help.

Improve your health, happiness, and wealth. Feel good about the conversations you have. Become engaged in all that life has to offer and know you are doing more than just hearing well again. You are maintaining better brain health as well!

Request a free hearing screening or Take our online hearing test