The hearing brain
Use it or lose it
“Listening is Where Hearing Meets the Brain” Beck, 2011
If left untreated, long term hearing loss may impact on cognitive health. The act of hearing is actually a passive one. Listening is a cognitive skill—it is the act of applying meaning to the sounds we hear. The longer you deprive you brain of sound, the more time it may take to help you to redevelop the skill of listening.
Fortunately, our brain has the remarkable ability to change, re-learn and improve skills and re-organise itself by forming new connections between neurons, we call this Neuroplasticity. Simply put, this means we can intentionally shape the direction of our plasticity by learning.
Whilst active use of appropriately personalised hearing aid technology is key for delivering high fidelity sound to the brain and keeping so that we can remain socially active, how we respond to and process the sound delivered to our brains depends on our own cognitive abilities. In some instances, retraining the brain to recover and improve key cognitive skills to make best use of the information delivered to the brain is essential for achieving the greatest improvement in communication skills, conversational relationships and real-world interactions.
The longer you deprive you brain of sound, the more time it may take to redevelop these key cognitive skills and so the sooner hearing loss is treated, the better for your long term cognitive health.
We use a variety of interactive online coach-supported brain training tools in our rehabilitation programmes, aimed at helping you improving communications strategies by strengthening attention and memory skills and teaching you how to conquer listening challenges and better understand fast talkers. These can be completed at home or at work with scheduled contact times with your Audiologist to explore progress. The duration of the programme would depend on the tool and will vary from person-to-person.