Call or Text Us! 970-528-5060
Windsor Audiology - Windsor, CO

Woman doing crossword puzzle and wearing hearing aid to improve her brain.

When you’re born with loss of hearing, your brain develops a little differently than it otherwise would. Surprised? That’s because we normally have false ideas about brain development. You may think that only injury or trauma can alter your brain. But brains are in fact more dynamic than that.

Hearing Impacts Your Brain

Most people have heard that when one sense diminishes the others get stronger. Vision is the most well known example: as you begin to lose your vision, your hearing and smell and taste will become ultra powerful as a counterbalance.

That hasn’t been proven in the medical literature, but like all good myths, there could be a sliver of truth in there somewhere. Because the architecture of your brain can be and is changed by loss of hearing. It’s open to question how much this is valid in adults, but we know it’s true with children.

The physical structure of children’s brains, who suffer from hearing loss, has been demonstrated by CT scans to change, transforming the part of the brain usually responsible for interpreting sounds to be more sensitive to visual information.

The newest studies have gone on to discover that the brain’s architecture can be impacted by even mild loss of hearing.

How The Brain is Changed by Hearing Loss

A certain amount of brainpower is devoted to each sense when they are all working. A specific amount of brain space goes towards interpreting touch, a certain amount towards hearing or vision, and so on. Much of this architecture is developed when you’re young (the brains of children are extremely flexible) because that’s when you’re first developing all of these neural pathways.

It’s already been verified that the brain altered its architecture in children with high degrees of hearing loss. The space that would normally be dedicated to hearing is instead reconfigured to boost visual perception. The brain devotes more space and more power to the senses that are providing the most information.

Mild to Moderate Loss of Hearing Also Causes Modifications

Children who have mild to medium loss of hearing, surprisingly, have also been seen to show these same rearrangements.

These brain changes won’t produce superpowers or significant behavioral changes, to be clear. Helping people adapt to hearing loss seems to be a more practical interpretation.

A Relationship That Has Been Strong For a Long Time

The modification in the brains of children undoubtedly has far reaching repercussions. Hearing loss is commonly an outcome of long term noise related or age related hearing damage which means the majority of people who suffer from it are adults. Is hearing loss altering their brains, as well?

Some research reveals that noise damage can actually cause inflammation in certain regions of the brain. Other evidence has linked neglected hearing loss with higher chances for anxiety, dementia, and depression. So while we haven’t proven hearing loss improves your other senses, it does impact the brain.

That’s backed by anecdotal evidence from people across the country.

Your General Health is Impacted by Hearing Loss

That loss of hearing can have such a significant effect on the brain is more than simple trivial information. It reminds us all of the vital and intrinsic connections between your senses and your brain.

When loss of hearing develops, there are commonly substantial and recognizable mental health impacts. In order to be prepared for these consequences you need to be aware of them. And the more educated you are, the more you can take the appropriate steps to preserve your quality of life.

How drastically your brain physically changes with the onset of hearing loss will depend on a myriad of factors (including how old you are, older brains usually firm up that architecture and new neural pathways are tougher to establish as a result). But regardless of your age or how severe your hearing loss is, untreated hearing loss will absolutely have an effect on your brain.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call or Text Us Today