Cognitive Services

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One of the risks of going without hearing aids when you need them is that your ability to adjust to hearing sounds again takes longer.  Hearing loss is also linked to a decline in memory and even considered a risk factor for dementia. However, the reason for this is more complicated than it may seem.

When you experience hearing loss, the parts of your brain responsible for hearing and comprehension aren’t being used as heavily. They begin to lose functionality the longer they go without use. Using hearing aids can help keep those parts of the brain strong, but it can also help maintain your memory. If you have trouble hearing what others are saying, your brain is doing more work to understand their speech. But that comes at a cost: when the brain requires more energy to understand what is being said, less is available to remember what is said.

A recent study published in the Lancet– a well-respected and peer reviewed medical journal- gathers strong evidence that hearing loss is a major dementia risk factor. Indeed, according to the article, titled “Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care: 2020 Report” hearing loss is the single most preventable dementia risk. Dementia is an uncurable and progressive neurological condition that results in significant and permanent cognitive decline. Because there is no outright cure for this type of cognitive illness, one of the primary avenues of research associated with dementia is the identification of risk factors.

At Albuquerque Hearing and Balance, we provide cognitive screenings.  Cognivue is a quick test lasting roughly five to ten minutes that screens:

  • Memory Performance
  • Executive Function
  • Reaction Time
  • Processing Speed

Cognivue is not designed to be the final word on your dementia risk; instead, the screening tool works as a kind of early warning system, bringing possible red flags to your attention as early as possible.

Including Cognivue testing in our hearing loss treatment programs can help us, you, and your other doctors gain a full understanding of hearing loss issues you may be experiencing. Not only that, but it can also help us detect cognitive decline in early stages, when it can be treated or slowed. By better understanding the causes and relationships between hearing loss and cognitive decline in our patients, we can help them find better solutions to both issues.

The Cognivue screening will provide you with a cognitive health result that is independent of your hearing score. The screening will also provide you with a report and data set that you can bring to your healthcare provider to better discuss next steps for managing cognitive risks. Cognivue provides hearing specialists with a screening tool that can help them accurately measure cognition and, in some cases, detect early signs of dementia. Because of the link between dementia and hearing loss, the people that hearing specialists see are likely to be disproportionately predisposed to dementia risk, making Cognivue is an essential step in a hearing checkup.