March 23, 2015 -- Erin Wright
Have you heard the saying “use it or lose it?”. Well, like anything with our bodies, this also applies to our ears; more specifically, the part of our brain that receives the sound from the ear. That part of the brain is called the auditory cortex. This part of the brain is located in the temporal lobe and it’s really what interprets the sound waves into meaningful bits of information. As with other senses, auditory sensations are perceived only if received and processed by a cortical area of the brain.
When we have hearing loss, certain sounds are not intense enough to reach the cortical areas of the brain and therefore are not perceived. The benefit of keeping this part of the brain stimulated is the subject of much research lately linking decreased auditory cortex stimulation to conditions such as dementia (http://www.audiologyresearch.org/index.php/audio/article/view/13).
I see many people being fit with hearing aids in a proactive way. Although they may feel they can still “get by” without the use of hearing aids, they are using them to continue to keep the auditory cortex awake and doing its job.
To find out more about how the auditory cortex relates to hearing, come visit us at the Healthy Hearing Expo as I will be doing an in depth talk on this exact subject.