For audiologist Lisa Ballinger, hearing aids are not just a luxury but an important preventative tool in the fight against dementia.
Many older adults suffer from hearing loss but are either unaware of the problem or too stubborn to get the help they need. And according to experts, this is more troubling than ever in light of new studies that indicate a correlation between an inability to process speech and brain diseases that cause memory loss.
“It’s not a choice to keep your brain active as we age, but a necessity,” stresses Lisa, owner of Accurate Hearing Technology in Sanford. “When you experience hearing loss, you eventually lose the ability to process speech. This has an adverse effect on the brain, which will actually turn off its ability to understand speech. Over time, this increases your chances of developing dementia and other related conditions.”
Lisa says the extra effort your brain uses to recognize sounds leaves less capacity for remembering conversations. In turn, you feel more tired after conversations and more tempted to withdraw from social interaction. Eventually, you experience both sensory deprivation and social isolation.
“People look at hearing aids as a burden and inconvenience, when in fact they are quite the opposite,” explains Lisa. “Hearing aids free individuals from the isolation and frustration they’re experiencing. The moment they put a hearing aid on, their relationships with friends and family improve dramatically.”
Hearing aids used to be bulky and obtrusive, but thanks to the latest technology, they are practically unnoticeable. They also come in a variety of styles and fitting options, which makes it easier for Lisa to make her clients happy
“Once I educate my clients on the correlation between processing sounds and brain health, and they also see how comfortable and sleek hearing aids are, they’re totally on board,” says Lisa, who works with local doctors to make sure they know about new hearing aid options available in the marketplace. “I have helped doctors in our area understand how important it is for some of their patients to get hearing aids, and I’m grateful for their willingness to work together in order to enhance more lives.”
Accurate Hearing Technology frequently helps individuals who are experiencing hearing loss due to accidents, tinnitus, or other auditory conditions.
“The look on their faces when I fit them is priceless,” Lisa says. “It’s life-changing for them and so gratifying for me.”