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Feeling Forgetful? It Could Be Your Ears.

“While you hear with your ears, the sound is interpreted by your brain. When your brain has to strain to understand what is being said, it actually harms your brain,” says Jean Davison, AuD, audiologist with Cape ENT, a group affiliated with Beebe Healthcare.

Hearing loss is not just a process of aging, it is actually a cause of cognitive decline and should be treated quickly. Often, patients say they were nervous to get their hearing tested or that they thought they were just getting older. “What’s important is working with the patient and the family to determine realistic expectations and then working with technology to meet their needs,” Davison says. “It’s important for the patient to want to do it.”

 

What can be done to correct hearing loss?

Davison said that technology is improving all the time and that the new hearing aids she works with can be controlled with a smartphone. “The new devices can regulate the background noise to help you better hear the person you are speaking to,” Davison says. “For many of my patients with mild to moderate hearing loss, these devices allow them to feel confident interacting with others again.”

For those with mild to moderate hearing loss, there are many near-field hearing devices that Davison recommends. If a patient is experiencing severe hearing loss, Davison might recommend a cochlear implant. “Each patient has a hearing test in my office and then we discuss what they hear and don’t hear,” Davison says. “It’s a very thorough test, so I am able to give them specific information about their type of hearing loss.”

 

Spot the Signs

It might be time to have your hearing tested if:

  • You have to ask people to repeat themselves often

  • You hear a person talking, but cannot understand what they said
  • You have ringing or buzzing (tinnitus) in your ears
  • You have trouble hearing while watching television or talking on the phone
  • You answer a question that wasn’t asked because you misheard the question
  • You have dizziness or vertigo
  • You failed a hearing test at your primary care practice

To make an appointment with an audiologist for yourself or your loved one, please call (302) 645-4801.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2018 issue of Beacon.