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Keep Your Hearing in Good Shape

We all know that exercise is good for keeping our bodies in good shape. We also know that people who exercise – or at least those with good cardiovascular health – tend to have better hearing.

There is evidence that exercising our ears is also good for keeping our hearing in good shape.

A number of studies have demonstrated that individuals with hearing loss in both ears who use only one hearing aid tend to maintain or improve their ability to understand words in the ear with the hearing aid. The ear without the hearing aid tends to decline in word recognition ability. This decline is not a change in hearing sensitivity, but rather is a decline in the ability to process the complex speech signal simply through lack of use.

One explanation of this gradual decline is that the ear without the hearing aid isn’t being “exercised” very much. Another explanation is that the area of the brain involved in hearing is not being used and becomes less effective at processing speech information

This gradual decline in speech recognition ability usually reverses itself once the ear gets more stimulation (normally through use of a hearing aid). This gradual improvement in speech understanding may take four to six weeks after the hearing aid fitting, and may continue for up to 12 weeks.

Implications: The findings from a number of studies suggest the following: The longer a hearing loss is ignored, the greater the effects. The longer someone puts off using hearing aids, the more likely word recognition ability will decline. The delay may also make it more difficult to adjust to hearing aids. To use the exercise analogy, if you don’t exercise for 10 years, it may take longer to get back in shape.

The sooner hearing loss is treated, the easier the adjustment. If you never let your hearing get “out of shape,” it’s much easier to adjust to hearing full-time.

In almost all cases, two hearing aids are better than one. Two hearing aids will keep both ears and both sides of the brain actively involved in hearing.

Improved hearing may take a little time. Although hearing aids provide immediate benefits, it can take 6 to 12 weeks for a hearing aid user to get the full benefits of the improved hearing provided by hearing aids.

From our Hearing HealthCare News©

A newsletter for our patients, their families and friends

Winter 2015