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Hearing is thinking

Your ears collect sound, but it’s your brain that actually understands it.

Good hearing helps your brain stay fit throughout your life—and helps avoid many
other health problems. This means that hearing health is brain health.

That is why we have developed BrainHearing™ technology for hearing aids.

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Do you ever find...

• People keep mumbling?
• You miss the point in their stories?
• Or you can’t hear the TV?

And do you ever feel...
• Tired or stressed from socializing?
• Confused about conversations?
• Or that you’d prefer to stay at home?

 

Your brain may need more sound!

If your brain doesn’t get the sound information it needs, you'll find it more difficult to
understand what people are saying and what's happening around you.

In this way, a hearing problem becomes a brain problem, which turns into life problems.

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How hearing works in the brain

Sound travels from your ears to your brain's hearing center, where there are two subsystems: The orient subsystem and the focus subsystem.* These constantly work together to help you understand the sound scene around you.


1: The orient subsystem constantly scans your surroundings to create a full overview of the sound scene.

2: The focus subsystem helps you select which sounds to listen to and which sounds to switch your attention to—while the irrelevant sounds are filtered out.


From here, sound is used by other brain centers including for memory and emotions.

*O’Sullivan et al. (2019) & Puvvada et al. (2017)

 

What happens if your
brain doesn’t get enough sound?

With hearing loss, there isn’t enough sound information coming to your brain from your ears, or the quality of that information is too low.

This makes it much harder for the brain to orient itself in your surroundings—which then makes it harder to focus on what’s important. It affects all the different parts of your brain that make sense of your surroundings. They all have to work harder.

This leaves fewer mental resources for other things like remembering.

 

  • brainhearing-conversations

    Conversations are harder to follow

    Missing sound information makes it especially hard in situations like cafes and family gatherings where lots of people are talking.

  • brainhearing-listening

    Listening takes more effort

    The brain has to work harder to recognize sounds from incomplete sound information while filling in the gaps by remembering and guessing.

  • brainhearing-mental

    Mental load increases for hearing

    With less mental capacity left over for other things, it becomes harder for all the different parts of your brain that also make sense of your life.







The consequences
of untreated hearing loss


Because hearing is a mental process, untreated or poorly treated hearing loss can lead to negative consequences for your brain.
For your brain to work in the way it is meant to, it needs the full sound perspective.

If the brain’s access to sound is limited—such as by inadequate treatment of hearing loss—it can lead to serious problems in life:

• Social isolation and depression
People with untreated hearing loss may reach a stage where they avoid social gatherings because they are unable to cope with complex sound environments. This increases the risk of loneliness, social isolation and depression.

• Poor balance and fall-related injuries
Untreated hearing loss can affect people’s balance, which increases the risk of fall-related injuries three-fold.

Accelerated cognitive decline
Increased mental load, lack of stimulation, and reorganized brain functionality are linked to accelerated cognitive decline, which affects your ability to remember, learn, concentrate and make decisions.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
The risk for dementia is increased five-fold for severe-to-profound hearing loss, three-fold for moderate hearing loss and two-fold for mild hearing loss.

What can you do to keep
your brain healthy?

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Get professional hearing advice

One of the most important things you can do is to get a hearing test and then get proper treatment if you have any type of hearing loss.

A good sense of hearing with effective treatment of significant hearing loss is a key to maintaining a healthy brain throughout your life.

A qualified hearing care professional can test your hearing for any signs of hearing loss. They can advise you on good, brain-friendly hearing aids and set them up to support your brain in the best way possible.

 

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Choose brain-friendly hearing aids with BrainHearing technology

Oticon hearing aids give your brain access to the full sound scene—to support your brain in working more effectively.

Our hearing aids help to ensure your brain receives the quality sound information it needs to remain healthy.

We call this unique approach BrainHearing, and it is what makes Oticon hearing aids unique.

View hearing aids with BrainHearing technology


If you think you might
have hearing loss

Find a hearing care professional

Learn about brain
friendly hearing aids

Learn more

  • Get support

    Learn how to clean your hearing aid, change your batteries, replace domes and more

  • Check your hearing

    Think that you may have hearing loss?  Take the first step and complete this short evaluation

  • Ringing in your ears?

    What is tinnitus, why do some people get it, and what can be done to relieve symptoms?

  • Find a professional

    A hearing care professional can check your hearing and determine a treatment that is right for you