Why you feel so tired after a conversation

(Fig. 1, Kral et al., 2016)

(Fig. 1, Kral et al., 2016)

Hearing and listening are not the same. We may use the wording interchangeably, but in terms of underlying processes, the two differ. Listening is defined as hearing with intention and attention (Kiessling et al., 2003). Listening thus involves both auditory and cognitive processing. Therefore, mechanisms such as attention, working memory and speed of processing are relevant themes when exploring the topic of listening. Listening begins peripherally, but it actually involves a mosaic of different cognitive functions working together in order to achieve fast and efficient perception of sounds. This ensemble of cognitive functions is called the listening connectome (Fig. 1, Kral et al., 2016).

Listening effort

Listening effort can be described as mental exertion required to attend to and understand an acoustic input.

The diagram below explains two different pathways how we understand acoustic inputs

First, in a quiet environment, the auditory signal is clear and can easily be recognized and understood. This is a fast process that requires low cognitive effort.

Second is in a more difficult , complex situations( or when the hearing threshold gets worse). Auditory signal is degraded and is difficult to recognize. Instead of instant recognition, the distorted input signal is compared to already stored information in the memory before understanding is possible. This requires a lot of effort and leads to fatigue.

Everyone has finite amount of cognitive resources. Cognitive resources can be used to compensate for the hearing difficulties. The greater the hearing problem, the more effort is required to listen and understand, hence feels fatigued quicker.

References  Kiessling J, Pichora-Fuller MK, Gatehouse S, et al. (2003). Candidature for and delivery of audiological services: Special needs of older people. Int J Audiol, 42(Suppl 2), S92–S101.  Kral A, Kronenberger WG, Pisoni DB, et al. (2016). Neurocognitive factors in sensory restoration of early deafness: a connectome model. Lancet Neurol, 15, 610-621.

References

Kiessling J, Pichora-Fuller MK, Gatehouse S, et al. (2003). Candidature for and delivery of audiological services: Special needs of older people. Int J Audiol, 42(Suppl 2), S92–S101.

Kral A, Kronenberger WG, Pisoni DB, et al. (2016). Neurocognitive factors in sensory restoration of early deafness: a connectome model. Lancet Neurol, 15, 610-621.

As-framed-by-the-listening-connectome-hearing-loss-has-far-reaching-consequences-beyond.png

Hearing loss and Cognitive decline

New researches suggest that hearing loss is a main contributor to accelerated cognitive decline and dementia.

Livingstone et al. (2017) published a study in The Lancet that showed hearing loss is the highest single modifiable risk factor identified for dementia. Hearing loss was higher than other factors such as depression and obesity.

Hearing loss and gaining less from social interaction has been proposed to be an added risk in individuals with hearing impairment since it contributes to the decrease in social participation and increased isolation.

In another study, which was conducted across a span of 25 years in 3500 individuals found an association between self reported hearing loss and cognitive decline ( Amieva et al., 2015) .

Elderly adults with hearing loss not using hearing aids showed greater and faster cognitive decline, while those with hearing loss using hearing aids had similar rates of cognitive decline as those with no hearing loss.

Treatment of hearing loss is not only about hearing

It is an essential part of keeping you physically an mentally healthy for an active and engaged life.

Livingston et al. ( 2017)    References  Amieva H, Ouvrard C , Giulioli C, et al. (2015). Self-Reported Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids, and Cognitive Decline in Elderly Adults: A 25-Year Study. J Am Geriatr Soc., 63, 2099-104  Livingston G, Sommerlad A, Orgeta V, et al., (2017). Dementia prevention, intervention, a nd care. Lancet, pii: S0140-67 36(17)31363-6.

Livingston et al. ( 2017)

References

Amieva H, Ouvrard C , Giulioli C, et al. (2015). Self-Reported Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids, and Cognitive Decline in Elderly Adults: A 25-Year Study. J Am Geriatr Soc., 63, 2099-104

Livingston G, Sommerlad A, Orgeta V, et al., (2017). Dementia prevention, intervention, a nd care. Lancet, pii: S0140-67 36(17)31363-6.

Chocolate and Wine can protect your hearing

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A sweet way to protect your hearing

Dark chocolate contains numerous antioxidant and high level of zinc, which boosts the immune system and prevents potential infections in the body.

Since ear infections can cause hearing loss, dark chocolate may help protect against ear infections and prevent from hearing loss

The relationship between cardiovascular health and hearing is strong and has been confirmed by a sizeable number of investigators.

Heart disease, hypertension, or any other restriction of blood supply to the peripheral and central auditory system can reflect itself in terms of audiometry, communication and can be progressive in nature.

Dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa content has also been shown to be good for the cardiovascular system. One observational study found that eating chocolate five or more times per week lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 57 percent. Since poor heart health is linked to hearing loss, anything to improve your cardiovascular system can be helpful to your hearing health.

Cheers to your ears

If you prefer to sip some wine over eating chocolate, you may still be doing something good for your hearing. It’s long been suggested that a glass of red wine per day can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Just like chocolate, the antioxidants in red wine can help protect against cardiovascular disease, and in turn, hearing loss. But drinking red wine may actually go a step further and prevent hearing loss more directly.

A compound found in the skin of red grapes, resveratrol, has been found to protect against noise-induced hearing loss, as well as cognitive decline. A 2013 study by the Henry Ford Hospital found that rats given resveratrol and exposed to loud noises recovered their hearing more quickly, and showed a reduced amount of hearing loss and cognitive decline, compared to those not given the substance.

Everything in moderation

While small indulgences in dark chocolate and red wine may be beneficial to your hearing and health, too much can be a bad thing. Chocolate is often high in sugar and fat, so eating large amounts can lead to serious health issues, and consuming too much alcohol can be dangerous for many reasons. However, in moderation, chocolate and wine can be a healthy part of your diet and good for your hearing.