Why Parties are Good For Your Brain

The benefits of hearing technology on cognition cannot be emphasised enough. Past studies have shown that even early stages of hearing loss are linked to cognitive decline. The theory is that when the brain’s ability to process sound is compromised a person’s ability to understand speech declines. Alison Chiam, Audiologist for the Jervis Bay Hearing Centre, commented “We know how important hearing is to cognitive health. In fact, it’s been known for several years that there is a correlation between the presence of hearing loss and accelerated cognitive decline in elderly adults. Additionally the rate at which this happens appears to be faster among those with hearing loss. This has been demonstrated by researcher Frank Lin and other researchers around the world. What had yet to be established was the mechanism, how it happens.” For years, a common theory among the research community has been that the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline is related to a loss of socialisation. People with hearing loss are more likely to avoid social situations out of frustration or embarrassment. Research
shows that being in social situations is one of the best things to do to preserve cognitive function. “This is the first time there is evidence that people who have hearing loss, and who use hearing aids are no more at risk of cognitive decline than people with normal hearing,” explains Alison. “The hearing aids act as a protective mechanism against a more accelerated loss of cognition, cementing the hypothesis that the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline is related to loss of socialisation.  Since hearing aids allow for greater stimulation through socialisation, people stay engaged and active for longer.  People with hearing devices are using the cognitive system very actively.” According to Alison, social interaction is key. “One of the most stimulating things you can do is go to a party. The complexity of the environment and having conversations with multiple people is very healthy for the brain.  If someone is hesitant to socialise then you might notice them avoiding parties, groups and background noise, dropping out of conversations, guessing
answers, nodding when they should be disagreeing. If you know someone who is like this then it might be a lot easier for them to access conversation with some help from a hearing aid.    There can be a positive impact on long term brain health by correcting your hearing. The results of recent studies on hearing and cognitive function represent an opportunity to get more people to do something positive about their hearing. “This is probably the most important thing to come out of this research” Alison said. “If we can get more people to take positive action and treat their hearing loss then this is very good for them and their families over the short and the long term” Jervis Bay Hearing Centre understands how to help you with your hearing and provides a step by step support system for helping your brain adapt to processing new information and sounds.  We call this our hearing wellness journey and it’s unique to Jervis Bay Hearing Centre. If you would like to be supported to hear better now and into the future, give us a call on 4441 8886 (Vincentia) or 4455 6000 (Ulladulla).


Alison Chiam is an Audiologist, Artist and Educator.  She is an Independent Audiologist in Private Practice and is Principal Audiologist at Jervis Bay Hearing Centre (NSW).  Her speciality areas include Hearing rehabilitation, Tinnitus and Sound Intolerance.  At the International Tinnitus Seminar in Brazil 2011 she was part of a team who was won the Ted Vernon prize for their ground-breaking work on Tinnitus and Hypercusis.

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