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Amman -

 Some people with hearing loss may notice a decline in their brain capabilities. A weak sense of hearing can affect brain health, and proper communication plays an important role in protection.

How does hearing loss affect brain health?

Who are the groups exposed to it?

What are the most important tips for protecting your hearing?

Ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr. Abdullah Al-Raqab believes that hearing loss may lead to social isolation and difficulty communicating, which contributes to increasing the risk of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and others.

Dr. Al-Raqab confirms - in an interview with Al Jazeera Net - that studies indicate that hearing loss may lead to changes in the brain. For example, hearing loss can lead to changes in the areas of the brain responsible for processing sound, and changes may also occur in areas of the brain. Associated with language and communication, these changes may affect the ability to understand speech and process vocal information.

Indicators of hearing deterioration

Dr. Al-Raqab explains that there are several indicators that could indicate deteriorating hearing health, and if a person notices them, it is best to consult a specialist doctor to evaluate the situation and possibly obtain a hearing device if necessary, including:

  • Difficulty hearing faint sounds or speech in crowded environments.

  • Ask to repeat words or sentences.

  • Feeling stressed or frustrated because of difficulty hearing.

  • Difficulty hearing loud sounds.

  •  Ringing or noise in the ears.

  •  Frequently ignoring phone calls or other sounds.

  • Feeling socially isolated due to difficulty hearing.

Hearing loss and lack of concentration

Dr. Al-Raqab explains that hearing loss can cause an inability to concentrate well, and when a person suffers from this, he may find it difficult to filter out surrounding sounds and focus on the important sound.

He added that this weakness in concentration can affect performance at work or in daily tasks that require high concentration.

Effect on memory or dementia

According to Dr. Al-Raqab, some studies indicate that there is a link between hearing loss and an increased risk of memory problems and dementia, as it is believed that social isolation and lack of social interaction due to hearing loss may contribute to the deterioration of mental functions, including memory.

He continued, however, that the presence of hearing impairment does not necessarily mean that a person will suffer from memory problems or dementia, but it is considered a major factor that must be considered and verified when studying mental health.

The most affected groups

Dr. Al-Raqab explains that the impact of hearing loss on brain health can be greater for a variety of groups, including:

Older people: They are more vulnerable to the effects of hearing loss on brain health due to natural age-related changes in the brain.

Children: Hearing loss at an early age may affect the development of language, communication, and learning, which affects brain development in the early stages.

Types of hearing loss

Dr. Sheba Jarrar, a specialist in diseases and surgery of the ear, nose and throat, confirms to Al Jazeera Net that there are several types of hearing loss, classified according to the cause of the hearing loss, which are:

  • Conductive hearing loss: It results from a problem in the outer ear, eardrum, or middle ear and is usually treatable.

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: resulting from a problem in the inner ear (cochlea), the hearing nerve, or the hearing centers in the brain. Examples include: hearing loss resulting from aging, hearing loss resulting from exposure to noise, hearing loss resulting from certain medications, and hearing loss. congenital, and others.

 Avoid triggers

Dr. Jarrar believes that there are causes of hearing loss that can be avoided, such as exposure to noise or the use of medications that harm hearing, but there are causes that cannot be avoided, so it is generally recommended to maintain the health of the ears to reduce the impact of these causes on hearing.

She added that this is done by avoiding exposure to noise, avoiding inserting any tool into the ear canal to clean the ear or otherwise, and paying attention to public health by eating healthy food, avoiding smoking, and paying attention to treating chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and thyroid diseases.

Drug and surgical treatment

Dr. Jarrar points out that the treatment of hearing loss depends on its type and cause. Most of the causes of conductive hearing loss are:

Such as accumulation of glue in the ear, perforation of the eardrum, middle ear fluid, acute and chronic otitis media, or sclerosis of the ossicles, can be treated through medications or surgical operations that vary depending on the cause.

But in the case of sensorineural hearing loss, as I mentioned, there is often no treatment to restore the function of the cochlea or the hearing nerve, and therefore hearing aids are used to compensate for the lost function of the inner ear, or a cochlear implant is performed in certain cases to compensate for the affected cochlear function.

Hearing aids

Dr. Jarrar points out that several studies have found that using hearing aids can reduce the risk of declining brain function, such as dementia, by about half for adults who have more risk factors for dementia, such as high blood pressure, higher rates of diabetes, and those who live alone.

Source: Al Jazeera