We were sent a link to an article in The New York Times, “Straining to Hear and Fend off Dementia,” written in Feb by Katherine Bouton, a former Times editor. In her article, Bouton described a personal experience that many have often encountered. Many times, we have been at a party or meeting and tried to have a conversation with an individual. We strain and stretch, eager to hear above the din of surrounding conversations, then we forget what we were trying to say and forget our friend’s name. We are defeated by our ears.
Social isolation increases our risk of dementia. It can happen anytime, any place. When it does, it threatens our sense of well-being and stability. Recently, a friend complained about difficulties she experienced carrying on a conversation. She wondered why she had joined the celebration. She felt alone, distanced from everyone in the midst of the crowd. Isolation in the middle of a party is a scary place to be. Hearing aids may work during a quiet conversation, one on one, but frequently fail in a group setting.
Dr. Frank Lin from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine describes this experience as “cognitive load.”
“Essentially, the brain is so preoccupied with translating the sounds into words that it seems to have no processing power left to search through the storerooms of memory for a response.”
Dolores Madden from Hidden Hearing explains – “Our heads are working so hard to catch the conversation, we cannot respond appropriately. In a long-term study in 2011, Dr. Lin from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine found that people with mild hearing loss had a greater risk of dementia than people with normal hearing.
Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.