Your auditory system can be affected by a number of medical challenges, all of which can show up during a general health check of the brain

Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline – The Value Of Cognitive Screening

by | Feb 1, 2022 | Hearing Loss, Hearing Test, Patient Resources

More and more studies are coming to the same conclusion about the profound link between hearing loss and cognitive decline – that having a hearing loss leads to people being at a much higher risk of their brain not being able to function properly.

Medical News Today reports that the greater the severity of the hearing loss, the greater the risk of cognitive decline, going from 30% for those with a mild hearing loss to 54% for those with a severe hearing loss.

If decline is caught early enough, much can be done to slow it down with the right hearing treatment, which is why audiologists have been researching ways to help regularly assess their patients’ cognitive function while also treating their hearing.

Why An Audiologist Would Check Your Brain Health

Your auditory system can be affected by several medical challenges, all of which can show up during a general health check of the brain.

Medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, eye impairment, and the side effects of medications, or a lack of exercise, poor sleeping habits, and a poor diet can all affect your hearing health.

Monitoring any changes to your hearing health helps us take better care of its treatment.

In one long-term study, participants with a severe hearing loss who wore prescription hearing aids reduced their risk of cognitive decline by 17%!

Enter cognitive screening.

Cognitive Screening – What Is It?

Cognitive screening is an FDA-cleared assessment done on a computerized screen that evaluates cognitive function.

The psychophysics behind the test has been researched and developed over the last 15 years to produce what is available today, so it is highly respected in the medical world.

Cognitive screening evaluates six cognitive areas of the brain:

  1. Visuospatial – motor skills, visual acuity
  2. Executive Function/Attention – shape and motor perception
  3. Naming/Language – letter and word perception
  4. Memory – letter and word memory
  5. Delayed Recall – shape and motion memory
  6. Abstraction – being able to think about and follow abstract thoughts

Cognitive screening also measures your physical reaction time and speed at processing what is said or happening.

How A Cognitive Assessment Works

The test takes fifteen minutes, and it is self-administered.

  • It begins with an introductory video and has you do two practice sessions first.
  • The ten-minute evaluation begins.
  • Once completed, a one-minute video will play explaining what happens next.

This is not a test with a keyboard or a list of right and wrong answers. There’s simply a wheel that you turn to select the picture you think makes the most sense to what is asked.

Once completed, your audiologist gets an immediate overview of the results to review with you, with suggested customized follow-up steps.

Cognitive Screening

Benefits Of Cognitive Screening

Because cognitive screening looks for additional health aspects that impact your hearing, it means we — at North Houston Hearing Solutions — can diagnose and treat anything we might have missed before.

  • We understand the scope of your hearing loss better because we can see everything that might be affecting it.
  • We can test further for anything we find and possibly refer you for treatment for other aspects of your health.
  • The assessment is private and done by you alone – there is no one present to judge your answers.
  • Cognitive screening can detect early signs of cognitive decline that you and everyone around you might not have even noticed yet, thus facilitating the best early preventative treatment plan possible.
  • A yearly cognitive assessment gives us an excellent view of your cognitive abilities and allows us to monitor for any changes so we can adjust your hearing treatment to match them, thus optimizing your hearing.

Considering A Cognitive Screening?

It can be easy to miss the earliest signs of cognitive decline, but we’re here to help with that. Book a Cognitive screening for yourself or a loved one if you are concerned about this and see how it can help your hearing treatment plan.

We care about your hearing and overall health at North Houston Hearing Solutions, and we’re here anytime you need us. Give us a call at 281-444-9800 with any questions. We look forward to helping.

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Dr. Lacey Brooks, CCC-A, FAAA - Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Lacey Brooks received a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry in 2003, and earned her Doctorate of Audiology in 2009. She completed her clinical internships and residency at various facilities within Houston Medical Center. Dr. Brooks is a preferred provider for the American Institute of Balance (ABI), a professional member of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), a member of the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA) and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is also the vice president of the Louisiana State University Houston Chapter Alumni Association. In addition to her years of experience identifying, diagnosing and treating all types and degrees of hearing loss, and vestibular disorders, Dr. Brooks has spent the last 13 years becoming an expert in Tinnitus management and therapy. Dr. Brooks is also one of the few providers in the country certified for Lyric Implantable Devices. For over seven years, Dr. Brooks successfully ran and operated more than six audiology clinics for one of the largest practices in the state of Texas before joining the North Houston Hearing Solutions team in 2016. Dr. Brooks prides herself on providing her patients with the highest quality of care. She loves her patients dearly and feels so fortunate that she gets to help improve their daily lives. This love, combined with her impressive skill set, business experience and passion for helping people hear has made Dr. Lacey Brooks a wonderful addition to the North Houston Hearing Solutions’ team. When not at the office, Dr. Brooks enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, family, and friends. Dr. Brooks is also very involved in her church and with mission work in her community and abroad.

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