Several scientific studies have found that hearing aids keep your brain fit and may protect against cognitive decline. For example, people who wear hearing aids for age-related hearing problems (age-related hearing loss) maintain better brain function over time than those who do not.
Untreated hearing loss not only affects your hearing and your quality of life, it also affects the brain's ability to remember common everyday sounds because the hearing channels are no longer effectively used and do not send signals to the brain.
The brain forgets sounds
When the hearing nerves lose their function and no longer channel sound signals to the brain, the brain 'forgets' the sounds over time and becomes unable to understand these sounds.
The brain’s centre for hearing stores sounds and noises for some years following the onset of a hearing loss. But after a period, the memory becomes weaker and weaker.
Hearing loss also affects cognition
Scientific studies have found that the brain's processing of sound is not the only thing that is affected by an untreated hearing loss. The hearing loss also affects cognition and may result in cognitive decline and even dementia or earlier onset of dementia.
Treat your hearing loss
Therefore, it is important for your brain to have your hearing tested and start using hearing aids if needed when you find out that you are losing some of your hearing.
Once you start using hearing aids, the hearing processing resumes, supplying signals to the brain. In this way, your hearing will improve but you will also keep your brain fit and active.
But the longer you wait, the more difficult it is to be able to hear again and activate the parts in the brain that pick up and process sounds.