The Latest Advancement in Cognitive Screening
Did you know that your ability to hear influences the health of your brain? As your ears collect sounds, your brain interprets these sounds into useful information or meaningful speech.
In other words, your ears may do the hearing, but your brain does the listening.
Without hearing signals, the areas of your brain responsible for interpreting sounds and communication go unused. This can result in cognitive decline.
Thankfully, the right hearing aid devices can help you hear sounds and keep your brain firing on all cylinders. However, not all hearing aids are created equal, and not all of them treat the same thing.
So how do you know which hearing aid is right for you? How can you tell what device will treat your specific type of hearing loss?
This is where cognitive screenings like Cognivue come into play.
What Is Cognivue?
Cognivue is a short cognitive screening test that evaluates aspects of your cognitive functioning that influence your quality of hearing in everyday environments.
The test focuses on three cognitive domains: memory, visuospatial ability, and executive function.
When your hearing loss is severe, you are at an increased risk of not storing information properly, making it more difficult to recall information.
Visuospatial capabilities are critical for the localization process, such as pinpointing the sound of a siren or simply moving around your home with ease. Decreased visuospatial functioning, especially when combined with untreated hearing loss, puts you at an increased risk of falling.
Executive function, in this context, is your ability to hear when in noisy environments. If you have impaired executive function, you might experience greater difficulty processing multiple speakers when there is nonspeech noise, like music or construction noise.
Cognivue also tests two parameters: processing speed and reaction time.
Processing speed is your ability to use executive functioning efficiently.
Reaction time can impact your ability to follow multiple speakers or rapid conversations and your ability to respond quickly to comments or questions.
Does Hearing Loss Affect Cognition?
In short, yes. Research suggests a probable link between hearing loss and the increased risk of dementia. Some studies found that up to 8% of dementia cases worldwide were likely attributed to hearing loss.
How are these issues linked? Brain scans have demonstrated that hearing loss can contribute to brain atrophy. Brain atrophy, or cerebral atrophy, is the loss of neurons and connections that help those neurons (or nerve cells) communicate within the brain’s tissues.
Some scientists and researchers speculate that the association between hearing loss and brain atrophy lies in social isolation. In other words, when you experience hearing loss, you may not want to socialize as much, as trying to keep up with or contribute to conversations can feel overwhelming and debilitating.
Unfortunately, the lack of participation in conversation can be linked to declined cognitive functioning, which thus leads to brain atrophy.
Hearing loss can also negatively impact your balance, making it harder to walk safely and participate in society. Your ears play a role in picking up subtle cues that contribute to good balance as you walk. When you have hearing loss, you likely cannot hear these cues, which can impede the mental processing aspect of walking safely.
The good news is that hearing loss is treatable, and the sooner you start treating your hearing loss, the more you minimize these risks.
How Audiology Helps
Audiology plays a critical role in helping patients not only in their immediate daily lives but also in their future cognitive health. Audiologists are skilled professionals who work with patients experiencing hearing loss to determine their unique communication needs and find the best hearing aid option.
Audiologists treat hearing loss in patients by selecting the right hearing aids or hearing assistive devices and fitting patients for these devices so they are both comfortable and functional.
The best type of hearing assistive device depends on the patient’s personal preference, the severity of hearing loss, and the type of hearing loss.
How Cognivue Is Different from Other Screening Tests
Cognivue stands out because the ability to hear is not required for the process. The technology includes captions for those who are hard of hearing or have severe hearing loss.
Captions are uncommon in most cognitive screening tests, as other tests use auditory questions and instructions. This makes Cognivue more accessible to those with hearing loss.
Who Should Get a Cognitive Screening?
Cognitive screenings are helpful for everyone, especially those who live with hearing loss. Long-term hearing deprivation can negatively affect your cognitive performance. If you experience hearing loss, you should schedule a Cognivue audiology and cognitive screening as soon as possible.
Get a Cognitive Screening Today
Happy Ears is a family-friendly hearing center with three locations in Arizona: Mesa, Peoria, and Surprise.
You can schedule a Cognivue screening at any of these locations and receive compassionate, informed, professional help from our team of expert audiologists.
Learn more about Cognivue and schedule your appointment by visiting our website.