Did you know that a hearing problem can turn into a brain problem, which can lead to serious problems in life? This is because the brain undergoes stress when it is not provided with enough of the information it needs to make sense of sound which is detrimental to how it works and to its health. We hear with our brain, not our ears. New research from Oticon shows that if our brain isn’t provided access to as much sound as possible, such as we experience with hearing loss, it cannot work at its best. The research also reveals that simply making certain sounds louder, the way many traditional hearing aids try to improve hearing, isn’t the right solution for anyone with hearing loss. This is because this method does not provide the vital stimulation from all sounds which the brain needs to stay fit.

Why does hearing problem turn into a life problem?

Oticon, has repeatedly proven that the brain plays the most important role for hearing, coining the term ‘BrainHearing™’. New hearing science research from Oticon, delves even deeper and demonstrates that the brain is able to focus on the sounds we choose and switch attention much better if it has access to all relevant sound. If your brain doesn’t get the sound information it needs via your ears, it has to work harder to focus on what’s important. This extra effort has many consequences: it can age the brain more quickly, change the way the brain works and lead to more incidences of fall-related injuries, fatigue, stress, social isolation and depression. The consequences of living with untreated hearing loss even include significantly increased risk of dementia – up to 5 times as much as people with normal hearing. The evidence is clear, good hearing actually helps to keep your brain fit so that you can get on with life without interruption by hearing loss consequences.

“Addressing a hearing problem in the right way promotes healthy ageing and significantly decreases the potential for life problems,” says Thomas Behrens, Chief audiologist, Oticon. “If you have a hearing loss, your hearing aids need to deliver your brain the right information to allow it to work optimally. New information about how we hear, shows our brain is constantly working to both create a full overview of the entire soundscape and focus. If the full overview or sound picture is not provided, then the brain cannot focus well enough and has to work harder. This reveals that most hearing aids, which concentrate on focusing on particular sounds, are actually starving the brain of all the information it needs to hear naturally. We are really proud to be innovators of hearing technologies that support the brain and ultimately eliminate the consequences of hearing loss and will continue to lead the charge to better hearing health with our ongoing BrainHearing research.”

For more information about Oticon BrainHearing™ visit: oticon.

*Lin, F. R., Metter, E. J., O’Brien, R. J., Resnick, S. M., Zonderman, A. B., & Ferrucci, L. (2011). Hearing loss and incident dementia. Archives of neurology, 68(2), 214-220.