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Brain hearing presentation recap

Thanks to all for coming out to our Brain Hearing Event. We had a much larger than expected turnout and we were so happy to see everyone. Stephanie Loder from Oticon gave a very informative session on Brain Hearing. Plus a light catered lunch from the Creek Café was pretty tasty!

There was a lot of information presented, but I will try and summarize the main highlights below.

Stephanie started the presentation with a quote

“The ears hear things… the brain makes sense of them.”

Your brain and ears work together as a system, but the brain does most of the work. Your brain uses the information it receives from your ears to help you orientate where the sounds are coming from, make sense of the sounds by focusing on a conversation, separating out noise and looking for sounds it recognizes. This all happens simultaneously inside your brain.

She went on to elaborate on the consequences of untreated hearing loss – 

When you have a hearing loss that is not treated, there can be changes in the brain as a result. Auditory nerve synapses change due to deprivation. Changes in how the brain is organized and accelerated cognitive decline also can result. With an untreated hearing loss, the signals to the brain have lower quality and the brain will reconstruct and compensate in order to understand. If the auditory part of the brain is not stimulated then other senses will take over. The brain will work harder to try and figure out what is being said, which results in less capacity to store new information. This can result in fatigue and social withdrawal. There is also an acceleration of health problems, such as depression and dementia.

She presented the findings from The Lancet Medical Journal study “Dementia prevention, intervention, and care”. This is a very interesting review of many studies done on Dementia. 

Key messages from Lancet (1 to 10 taken directly from Review Study):

i. The number of people with dementia is increasing globally.

Although incidence in some countries has decreased.

ii. Be ambitious about prevention

We recommend active treatment of hypertension in middle aged (45–65 years) and older people (aged older than 65 years) without dementia to reduce dementia incidence. Interventions for other risk factors including more childhood education, exercise, maintaining social engagement, reducing smoking, and management of hearing loss, depression, diabetes, and obesity might have the potential to delay or prevent a third of dementia cases.

iii. Treat cognitive symptoms

To maximise cognition, people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia with Lewy bodies should be offered cholinesterase inhibitors at all stages, or memantine for severe dementia. Cholinesterase inhibitors are not effective in mild cognitive impairment.

iv. Individualise dementia care

Good dementia care spans medical, social, and supportive care; it should be tailored to unique individual and cultural needs, preferences, and priorities and should incorporate support for family carers.

v.  Care for family carers

Family carers are at high risk of depression. Effective interventions, including STrAtegies for RelaTives (START) or Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health intervention (REACH), reduce the risk of depression, treat the symptoms, and should be made available.

vi. Plan for the future

People with dementia and their families value discussions about the future and decisions about possible attorneys to make decisions. Clinicians should consider capacity to make different types of decisions at diagnosis.

vii. Protect people with dementia

People with dementia and society require protection from possible risks of the condition, including self-neglect, vulnerability (including to exploitation), managing money, driving, or using weapons. Risk assessment and management at all stages of the disease is essential, but it should be balanced against the person’s right to autonomy.

viii. Manage neuropsychiatric symptoms

Management of the neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia including agitation, low mood, or psychosis is usually psychological, social, and environmental, with pharmacological management reserved for individuals with more severe symptoms.

ix. Consider end of life

A third of older people die with dementia, so it is essential that professionals working in end-of-life care consider whether a patient has dementia, because they might be unable to make decisions about their care and treatment or express their needs and wishes.

x.  Technology

Technological interventions have the potential to improve care delivery but should not replace social contact.


The Lancet Study Review highlights Risk Factors for Dementia. It categorizes them as potentially modifiable (35%) and potentially non modifiable (65 %).

Hearing loss came in at 9% risk contribution to Dementia. This is pretty significant, considering smoking was at 5%, and genetics at 7%.

Oticon has always been a leader in hearing aid technology, so it is no surprise that they have come up with a hearing aid to help brain hearing.  Stephanie elaborated on how Brain Hearing helps the brain make sense of sound by providing precise sound location information, preserving the important details of the sound, prioritizing distinct speech information over other sounds, maintaining access to the surrounding environment, reducing disturbing noise, rebalancing sound, both ears working together constantly and adjusting to the individuals unique needs and sound preferences. Basically, the hearing aid processes sound incredibly fast, reduces the load on the brain so it is easier to listen in difficult situations, so you can be less tired, have more capacity to remember things and understand speech better.

All this is important so you can keep your brain active, keep it fit and keep active in your life.

Do you want to try hearing aids out at no cost? Fill out the form to get started!

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