Auditory Deprivation & Your Brain: What You Should Know

Robert Martin (PhD) said in the Hearing Journal: “Wear your hearing aids or your brain will rust.” 

Sounds a bit strange, right? Only if you don’t consider how we actually hear. You would be forgiven for thinking that our ears do all the heavy lifting when it comes to our hearing. But you’d be mistaken. 

Our brains play a significant role in our ability to hear. As Dr. Martin says, “Your ears make electricity that is carried to your brain through your hearing nerves. You ‘hear’ with your brain, not your ears.”

What is Auditory Deprivation?

Your ability to hear relies on your ears and your brain working together. With a normal hearing ability, your brain is regularly flexing its ‘hearing’ muscle. But with hearing loss, this ‘flex’ happens less frequently. 

Let’s think of it another way. What would happen if you were to lie in bed for one week, and then try to run a marathon? You probably wouldn’t do very well. Which isn’t surprising! Your leg muscles need to be trained. Your muscles need to be regularly conditioned to stay in good working order. 

When left untreated, hearing loss can impact the function of our brain. A lack of auditory stimulation can cause the brain to lose its ability to process certain information. This is known as Auditory Deprivation. 

What Causes Auditory Deprivation?

The most common causes of auditory deprivation include: 

  1. Choosing not to wear hearing aid devices. If the parts of your brain involved in processing sound are deprived of sound, they can weaken or atrophy. 
  2. Using a hearing aid device in one ear, when you have hearing loss in both ears. 
  3. Improper hearing aid fit or tuning. Your hearing aid devices should be fit to your hearing loss. Working with a hearing healthcare specialist will ensure you get the maximum benefit from your hearing aid devices

How to Prevent Auditory Deprivation?

Understanding your hearing loss and how it has affected your hearing is the first step. Work with your local hearing healthcare specialists to understand sounds you struggle to hear. They will be able to help you hear your best. 

Trust the Experts at Regional Hearing and Balance Center 

Do you have any more questions? The hearing care professionals at Regional Hearing and Balance Center would be happy to help. Contact us today to request your appointment with our hearing care professionals.

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The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness and to determine if the consumer may benefit from using hearing aids, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Assessment conclusion is not a medical diagnosis and further testing may be required to diagnose hearing loss. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals.