I hope this message finds you well! Many of our patients are in good moods as the world is opening back up again. Right now, I have one of the best jobs on the planet :)
Did you know that May is Better Speech and Hearing month? It’s a month dedicated to raising awareness, cheerleading successes, and pushing forward on progress for the world to focus on a key element: Communication.
For most, hearing is an entry point; it provides access to communication. More and more research is showing hearing loss as one of the most controllable factors in keeping our cognition/memory. We still don’t know a lot about the specifics, but study after study is showing that hearing care is health care. Hearing care is healthy for our brain! I want to keep my cognition and memory as tuned up as I can as I age, and I bet you do too. Other things play a big role too such as vision, ability to produce sounds, and ability to understand language cognitively. Communication is a complex web of connected sensors that work together for us to understand and for us to be understood. No wonder so many Fortune 500 companies spend so much money training their staff on communication every year!
So let us celebrate our successes. Today, we live in a world where if you struggle to produce sounds, trained speech-language pathologists have tools to optimize your capibilities. Today, we live in a world where if you have hearing loss, there are surgically correctable solutions for certain types and advanced technological solutions for the most common. Yes, I’m talking about hearing aids. One day, I want to be able to consult patients with hearing loss how to go about replacing the hearing mechanism entirely. As the world continues research on regrowing outer hair cells in the ear, one day it may be possible! In the meantime, I am grateful that hearing aids today are so advanced and not my Granddaddy’s hearing aids (those whistled all the time back in the '80s!). Today, I am grateful to be seeing the best outcomes to date in my 10 year career as a doctorate level hearing healthcare provider.
So let’s push ahead. Now that we know how big of an impact hearing has on cognition, let’s start getting a baseline hearing test at age 60. Let’s stop letting hearing loss go for 10 years as something that we can cope with when we know that it’s impacting our brain health! Onward!