Tag Archive: Hearing Aids

The answering machine indicated the presence of a new voice message. “This is Doctor ‘I will perform surgery’ ENT. It’s time to schedule your ear surgery.” The very sound of the receptionist instantly transported me back to late October 2022.

“You don’t have Ménière’s,” the ENT stated. “Whatever you have, it’s more neurological.” However, he believed otosclerosis (a term derived from ‘oto,’ meaning “of the ear,” and ‘sclerosis’, meaning “abnormal hardening of body tissue”) and that surgery could fix that. “I can perform the surgery in April 2023. First, we’ll perform a CAT scan of the ear to ensure there’s nothing else happening; then, we’ll schedule the surgery.” The scan showed no Ménière’s-like damage, and I canceled the surgery. (I’ll give the ENT doctor an ‘A’ for effort.)

Continue reading

Medical professionals have identified a relationship between hearing loss and dementia. Let’s review some basic facts first. The impact of audiology and memory care will exacerbate with an aging population. By 2050, the number of people older than 60 years will double, comprising 21 percent of the global population. As a result, those living with dementia will triple and cost nearly $2 trillion. 

Though the exact association between the two conditions has not been identified, recent studies have proposed several theories. First, there is a possibility that hearing loss and dementia share a common cause. Thus, hearing loss and cognitive decline occur in parallel. As the brain degrades, so does hearing. But statistically, that’s not proven true. A second theory proposes that hearing loss places an increased demand on cognitive resources. Thus, information degradation occurs as resources are removed from cognitive tasks to support hearing. In such a scenario, listening causes the brain to work harder, burning out. The last theory proposes that a person with hearing impairment withdraws from social engagement and, therefore, experiences less cognitive function to interact with their environment. 

The theory gaining the most traction is the second: that hearing loss places an increased demand on cognitive resources. Individuals who have untreated hearing loss (even mild untreated hearing loss) find social participation requires more brainpower, which drains mental effort. This process makes the brain more likely to develop dementia.

So, why am I posting this information on a blog? Well, I am one of those impacted by hearing loss. Additionally, I am 62 years old. Combining those two statistics with watching my father suffer from hearing loss made me want to get and use hearing aids. Yet, the years-long search for the perfect hearing aid was frustrating.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: