Especially with our growing population of active seniors, it is important to understand how hearing loss relates to cognitive decline. Getting more exercise typically refers to healthy habits such as walking, biking, treadmills, swimming, yoga or gym routines. As these activities enhance physical fitness, it is remarkable how sensory stimulation can positively affect mental fitness. With these goals in mind, the auditory cortex is the part of our brain that performs hearing functions and by exercising hearing, just like muscles, the more useful it will be.
Use it or you may risk losing it.
Research indicates that atrophy of functional brain pathways can reduce hearing ability and speech comprehension. Those with hearing loss may struggle with accelerated rates of cognitive decline and increased dementia risks as compared to individuals with normal hearing. Since hearing capacity can decline gradually, necessary testing is often delayed. With timely evaluation, we will identify if you or your loved ones have auditory issues, such as high frequency loss, which can increase risk and rate of cognitive decline.
While examining how hearing relates to brain function, we learn about neuroplasticity. This concept refers to our brain’s resilient ability to structurally reorganize itself, throughout life, by forming new neural or brain cell connections.
Amid a variety of listening situations in our activities of daily living, there is fascinating research about how playing musical instruments may positively impact hearing speech in noise and working memory. Based on decades of stellar research, this informative reference on music training presents captivating perspectives.
From start to finish, highlights include:
“The effects of music training in relation to brain plasticity have caused excitement, evident from the popularity of books on this topic among scientists and the general public. Neuroscience research has shown that music training leads to changes throughout the auditory system that prime musicians for listening challenges beyond music processing. This effect of music training suggests that, akin to physical exercise and its impact on body fitness, music is a resource that tones the brain for auditory fitness. Therefore, the role of music in shaping individual development deserves consideration.
“In conclusion, music training results in structural and functional biological changes throughout our lifetime. Such neuroplasticity not only benefits music processing but also percolates to other domains, such as speech processing.”
CREDIT: SCIENCE PICTURE CO / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
“Making and breaking connections in the brain”
While we take your hearing care seriously, a little laughter goes a long way.
Good Humor, Healthy Hearing
As we discover how listening environments and auditory abilities influence cognitive function, here is a taste of appetizing research on healthy foods to keep in mind.
With doctor visits resuming as normal, social connections crucial, Facetimes, fun and Zoom calls prevalent, communication wellness empowers positive interactions with healthcare providers, family, friends and colleagues. Our expert guidance will ensure you are well-versed about how precious sounds trigger vital brain stimulation. Hearing your best is smart and doing so will nurture abilities to experience life to the fullest and stay mentally fit.
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To health and staying connected,
Dr. Peter Marincoivch