In May 2019, the Hearing Sense Clinicians attended the AcAud conference in Sydney and had the pleasure of listening to some of the leading researchers in the field of audiology. Dr Brent Edwards Ph.D. gave a great presentation on “The Impact of Hearing Loss and Hearing Aid Technology on Cognitive Function.”
Research has shown us that hearing loss has many negative effects on our brains
- Increased brain load
- Increased mental tiredness
- Poorer auditory memory
- Poorer auditory scene analysis
- Difficulty focusing
- Poorer mental health
And we heard all about the research showing that the use of hearing aids can help overcome all the above negative effects- incredible!
Sarampalis et al., 2009 measured the effect that hearing aids had on listening effort and found that the use of directional microphones and noise reduction made it easier for people with hearing loss in terms of listening effort. This means hearing aid technology will help improve attention, awareness and memory for people with hearing loss.
Hornsby 2013 investigated mental fatigue in individuals with hearing loss. This is something that, as clinicians, we hear so much about. Those social situations in noise and groups are very demanding and tiring if you are constantly playing catch up to piece the conversation together and try join in! The researchers found that using hearing aids with noise reduction and directional microphones meant less mental fatigue. So this means less exhaustion after socialising with family and friends, as well as being able to engage more with family and friends in social situations.
Research by Karawani, 2018 measured working memory scores for people after they had worn their hearing aids regularly for 6 months. The results showed that using aids consistently improves working memory!
This is incredible research as it is showing that with long term hearing aid use, your brain function continues to improve!
All this research is showing that improved hearing aid technology- the use of directional microphones and noise reduction not only help you hear better but there are flow on effects for improved memory, less fatigue, less listening effort and attention.
You may be thinking what are directional microphones? And what is noise reduction?
Directional microphones are when there are two microphones on a hearing aid which allow the hearing aid to focus on sound coming from a certain direction, to pick up those important sounds we want to hear, like speech, and not all the other sounds around, like background noise. The goal of a directional microphone is to focus on only picking up the speech to improve your speech intelligibility in noise.
Noise reduction helps to reduce background noise to make wearing hearing aids in background noise comfortable and to improve your ability to understand speech.
If you are interested in discussing any of this with our clinicians or looking at some of our new advanced hearing aid technology with directional microphones and noise reduction, please give us a call on 8331 8047.