Why Do We Include A Cognitive Screening Tool In Our ‘Hearing’ Assessments?
This study was one of the first major studies to investigate the impact of hearing loss on cognition.
Dr. Lin’s findings have been supported in several subsequent studies by scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Those studies indicated that the risk of subjective cognitive decline was 30 percent higher among men with even just mild hearing loss, compared with those with no hearing loss, while those with moderate or severe hearing loss had a 42 to 54 percent higher risk of developing cognitive issues.
How is hearing loss linked to cognitive decline and an increased risk for developing dementia? With (untreated) hearing loss, people have to become ‘active listeners’ working harder to process speech since it’s not getting to the brain effortlessly. People with untreated hearing loss have to concentrate harder, using contextual information, body language, and unconscious lip/speech reading to make up for what they’re not getting auditorily, which can be taxing mentally, physically and emotionally. Dr. Lin and other researchers believe hearing loss also contributes to social isolation due to the challenges hearing loss presents communicating in social situations. Dr. Lin even postulates that “subconscious multitasking may interfere with some mental processing needed to walk safely.”
Hearing loss typically has a slow, insidious progression, which means it’s (too) often not identified until it’s progressed to the point where communication becomes affected. Typically, hearing loss begins to affect one’s ability to hear high pitched/high frequency sounds. Unfortunately, this impacts the most crucial frequency range for speech understanding, compounded by the fact that those sounds also happen to be the softest speech sounds. This manifests in speech sounding indistinct, like people are mumbling, kid’s or women’s voices lose clarity, the TV volume goes up, background noise situations become untenable.
When left untreated, folks begin to disengage and stop participating in life. Social isolation and depression have been found to have a causal link to cognitive decline and dementia. Research has shown that social isolation is associated with high blood pressure, elevated stress hormones and weakened immune systems. It also raises the risk of dementia by 40% and the odds of early death by 26%, according to recent studies. Untreated hearing loss, meanwhile, increases the risk of dementia by 50%, depression by 40% and falls by 30% over a 10-year period, according to a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.
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Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults
So in addition to a full diagnostic hearing evaluation, a cognitive assessment test for adults is just one more important tool we’re using here at Berkeley Hearing Center to provide our patients and their families with the opportunity to live a richer, more independent lifestyle through personalized hearing healthcare.
How Audiology plays a key role in detecting early cognitive decline.
- The slow onset of hearing loss can have a significant impact on several key brain functions, including the memory, hearing, speech and language portions of cognition.
- Hearing impairment is a greater risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia than other individual mid-life risks. The proactive management of modifiable risk factors such as hearing loss may delay or slow the onset or progression of the disease.
- Several recent studies have shown that the use of hearing aids or other rehabilitation services for hearing loss, may slow down the rapid progression of cognitive decline.
- Use of hearing aids is associated with delayed diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, depression, anxiety, and injurious falls among older adults with hearing loss. (J Am Geriatr Soc 67:2362–2369, 2019).
#1 - Common Risk Factors
#2 - Mental Overload
#3 – Structural Changes
#4 - Social Isolation
What Is Cognivue Screening and How Does It Work?
Cognivue screening provides a personalized, consistent, and reliable assessment of overall brain health. The baseline scores established during your first cognitive screening test allows you and your health care providers to monitor and detect changes if they develop, establish new interventions to address changes in cognitive function or measure the success of treatments/interventions being put into place.
- Quick assessments (about 10 minutes)
- Interactive and intuitive
- Immediate results after testing
- Easy to understand results
- Secure and confidential
Unique software algorithms designed to use patient responses in order to adapt the test according to the patient’s performance helps improve testing accuracy of these FDA approved tests by eliminating testing variability.
What Do Cognitive Screening Results Show?
#1 – Memory Score
#2 – Visuospatial Score
#3 – Executive Function Score
#4 – Reaction Time
#5 – Processing Speed
Schedule a Cognitive Screening at Berkeley Hearing Centers
Because many of our patients have put off addressing their hearing loss for some time, some of them have already begun experiencing some degree of cognitive decline by the time they come to us for a hearing assessment. To be sure that we are providing the highest level of overall healthcare, not just hearing healthcare, our team of Audiologists at Berkeley Hearing Centers make use of Cognivue screening to provide a more complete assessment of communication function. By identifying even mild cognitive issues which may be occurring at the same time or a result of hearing loss, the goal is to help improve your overall quality of life.
If decision making, organizing tasks, recall, a poor sense of direction or other cognitive related issues are becoming a challenge for you or a loved one, use the adjacent form to contact our hearing care professionals to schedule a diagnostic hearing evaluation with Cognivue cognitive screening.
Hearing loss is typically a complex, multifaceted health issue. If programmed and used properly, hearing aids are certainly a powerful tool for addressing communication issues caused by impaired auditory coding and/or processing. But they are only one tool, and there are different parts to addressing ‘hearing loss’, other than hearing aids. Our Audiologists are here to help. That’s the difference between receiving quality hearing healthcare and just buying a hearing aid.