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Cognitive Health

You hear with your brain.

What we hear and what we understand is distinctly different.

Our ears are one part of an auditory system that collects and delivers a wide variety of sound signals; it is in the brain that listening happens – The act of applying meaning and making sense of sound.

Our brains are the cognitive interpreter of the audible sounds we hear through our ears. Two people could have the same hearing sensitivity, but how their brain processes information and the mental effort required to do so will be completely different.

What has hearing got to do with cognition?

Hearing is a passive sense. Our ears deliver sound to the brain where we process and apply meaning to it. We will call this BOTTOM-UP processing.

How we engage with acoustic information is a cognitive function of the brain, let us call this TOP-DOWN processing. These functions encompass many things: working memory, executive functions, reasoning, focus, long-term memory, language skills and more.

As humans, we rely on a harmonious relationship between these Bottom-Up and Top-Down processes to communicate and interact with the abundance of auditory information that is available to us.

There are so many things that will affect these functions and our capacity to apply these effectively in daily life. If you have ever experienced any hearing loss, you will know how much harder your mind needs to work to keep up.

Hearing loss and cognitive health.

When we experience hearing loss, the brain receives degraded and incomplete information from the ears. These missing pieces of information mean that the brain has to work that much harder to try and make sense of the broken message and ‘fill in the gaps’. It’s like trying to read a book with words missing.

If the hearing condition is left untreated, the mind is always having to work harder than it needs to make sense of sound. This increases the cognitive load on our brain and makes communication and interaction a highly effortful, stressful and challenging experience.

Although it may appear that the communication problems experienced is due to hearing loss alone, often this is not the primary issue. In many instances, it may be related to the ability to filter out distraction, focus attention, process information and our working memory. The fact is, successful and effortless hearing is reliant on these key cognitive functions and even more for a person with hearing loss.

More: Psychology & Mental Health >

Cognitive Assessments

In addition to exploring hearing sensitivity, here at Cubex, we also assess the key cognitive functions that are relevant to hearing & communication. This allows us to understand not simply what a person is hearing, but also how well they are processing the complex information their brain receives from their surroundings.

This approach allows us to empower people with a real awareness of their current state of cognitive hearing health. It enables us to provide the best possible comprehensive and integrated support – bottom-up and top-down.

We explore Cognitive Hearing Health over 2 sessions: at the first contact with a Cubex Audiologist during a Consultation and Discovery Session followed by a Cognitive Assessment & Education Session. Following on from these sessions, in some instances, coached cognitive training may be recommended.

Book a Consultation & Discovery Session >

Cognitive training

At Cubex, part of the care that we provide includes cognitive training.

Training tools used at Cubex are evidence-based, specific, effective and helps a person create a platform for learning skills. The programmes are coached, guided and supported by an Audiological Scientist. Training is completed online, on and your Apple or Android PC device.

The concept of neuroplasticity, the idea that the brain can reorganize itself and change, is what allows our cognitive training programmes to effectively change the way the brain functions to perform at its maximum capacity.

There are many training programs for various skills such as maths or time management. However, our programmes act on a different, more fundamental level. Once your cognition has improved, you will be able to focus and resist distractions better. You will also find that acquiring new skills is suddenly much more doable for you.

Cognitive training at Cubex may be completed as a stand-alone programme or as part of wider and more integrated cognitive wellbeing programme called CALM. The CALM programme was designed by Audiological Scientists to support the mental, emotional and cognitive wellbeing of people with reduced hearing, tinnitus and balance disorders. However, the programme is also relevant to absolutely anyone who simply wants to learn how to prevent damage and protect their cognitive hearing health early on.

Next page: Psychology & Mental Health > Learn more about CALM

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