Phone Number

(281) 503-8765

Hearing and Brain Health

Hearing Health is Brain Health!

Did you know?

  • Our ears are constantly stimulating our brains. We never turn them off, even when we sleep!
  • A mild hearing loss can put us at risk for dementia 200% greater than someone with average hearing. Depending on the stage of hearing loss, you could be at 500% greater risk for cognitive decline (Initially linked in 2011 at John Hopkins)
  • 40% of diagnosed dementia cases are considered preventable (The Lancet, 2020)
  • Hazardous noise exposure does not show up on an audiogram until 2-3 decades later
  • At age 50, it’s time to check your ears- “Ears and Rears” (Dr. Keith Darrow, 2021)
  • 90% of people with hearing loss have tinnitus and vice versa
  • Our ears are constantly stimulating our brains. We never turn them off, even when we sleep!
  • A mild hearing loss can put us at risk for dementia 200x greater than someone with average hearing. Depending on the stage of hearing loss, you could be at 500x greater risk for cognitive decline (Initially linked in 2011 at John Hopkins)
  • 40% of diagnosed dementia cases are considered preventable (Darrow, 2021)
  • Hazardous noise exposure does not show up on an audiogram until 2-3 decades later
  • At age 50, it’s time to check your ears- “Ears and Rears” (Dr. Keith Darrow, 2021)
  • 90% of people with hearing loss have tinnitus and vice versa

Symptoms of Cognitive Decline Associated with Hearing Loss
(New Behaviors; changes noticed that are different for you or your loved one)

  • Memory loss
  • Planning and problem-solving issues
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks or not completing all tasks as usual
  • Losing track of time and location
  • Recalling names and words (word finding)
  • Misplacing items
  • Retracing your steps
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Changes in mood and personality

Stages of Hearing Loss

Stages of Hearing Loss
(Darrow, 2021)

Stage 1 Early Stage

  • 15-40 dB of loss (damage to anatomy from ear to brain and all parts in between)
  • 200% greater risk for dementia
  • 140% greater risk for falls

Symptoms:

  • Mild Cognitive Effects (slight difficulty with memory, naming, and word finding) Mild tinnitus may be present
  • Difficulty understanding/hearing speech with different accents and/or dialects (e.g.,listening to a movie with British accents)
  • More than usual difficulty following conversations in noisy environments (e.g.,restaurants and parties)

Treatment as of 2022 Guidelines:

  • Hearing Aids

Stage 2 Mid Stage

  • 40-70 dB of loss (significant damage of anatomy from ear to brain and all parts in
    between)
  • 300% greater risk for dementia

Symptoms:

  • Moderate/bothersome Tinnitus
  • Missing others speaking to you (do not hear others)
  • Difficulty following conversations with more than one person
    Missing environmental cues (e.g., not hearing sirens on the road until it’s right behind
  • you; not hearing someone call you from another room in the house)

Treatment as of 2022 Guidelines:

  • Hearing Aids

Stage 3 Mid-Late Stage

  • 70-90dB of loss with significant impact on cognitive function (“reach deep into the memory, sensory and emotional portions of the brain” Darrow, 2021)
  • 400% greater risk of dementia
  • Dramatic increase for fall risk secondary to reduced physical activity

Symptoms:

  • Greater degree of Stage 2 symptoms, resulting in:
  • Avoidance of social gatherings
  • Self Isolation

Treatment as of 2022 Guidelines:

  • Cochlear Implants and/or Resound Hearing Power BTE Aids

Stage 4 Late Stage

  • 90+ dB profound hearing loss with substantial cognitive impact
  • 500% greater risk for dementia
  • Greater fall risk

Symptoms:

  • Stage 3 but with much greater difficulty
  • Avoidance
  • Self Isolation
  • Unable to hear all speech
  • Unable to hear most environmental sounds, except those that are exceptionally loud

Treatment as of 2022 Guidelines:

  • Cochlear Implants and/or Resound Hearing Power BTE Aids

Reference:

Darrow, K. (2021). Preventing Decline: Advances in the Medical Treatment of Hearing Loss and Tinnitus. Independently published.

Cognivue and Studies to support brain and hearing health

Autumn Oak is introducing another innovative way to preserve hearing and brain health to our patients. Every patient will undergo a 5-7 minute cognitive screening using Cognivue before vestibular and hearing evaluations. Cognivue will provide us with a baseline of your brain health. This baseline will be later used to ensure that our treatment and your carryover is effective. Research has shown with multiple studies including the two referenced below, that as treatment continues brain health (related to hearing/vestibular health) will improve as well. Our responsibility to our patients is to help you improve your quality of life.
Like our comprehensive vestibular testing, Autumn Oak again is the first in the Southeast Houston and Galveston areas to offer such an innovative approach, introducing the Cognivue!