Meet Dr. Rajesh Dhir, a renowned ENT Surgeon with over 30 years of experience at Dharam Hospital in Chandigarh. Dr. Dhir specialises in geriatric audiology and is well-versed in the profound relationship between hearing health and cognitive well-being among seniors. Dr. Dhir delves into the vital connection between hearing health and holistic wellness and provides valuable insights into how addressing hearing loss can positively impact the lives of older adults.
Hearing loss affects the cognitive function of seniors
Dr Dhir says, “Hearing loss isn’t just about sound; it’s also about communication.” According to him, when the brain struggles to process sounds, it expends extra energy. This can leave fewer cognitive resources for memory, attention, and other mental tasks, leading to cognitive fatigue.
Influence of Hearing loss on brain health
“Think of the brain as a conductor of an orchestra. When hearing is clear, the conductor guides the musicians smoothly,” explains Dr Dhir. With hearing loss, the conductor works harder, which can affect the harmony of the orchestra – our brain functions.
The Impact of Addressing Hearing Loss on Cognitive Vitality
Treating hearing loss lightens the cognitive load. When senior citizens can hear clearly, their brains can focus better on conversations and processing information. This can lead to improved cognitive function and better quality of life.
Dr Dhir, while shedding light on the benefits of adopting a holistic approach to cognitive well-being, says, “Holistic wellness considers the whole person – physical, mental, and emotional aspects. By nurturing hearing health, staying socially engaged, and embracing relaxation techniques, seniors can promote cognitive vitality. Regular exercise and a good diet are of utmost importance. B12, Vitamin D and Omega 3 fatty acids also help to alleviate brain fogging.”
The Social Connection and Cognitive Health Link
Dr Dhir emphasises that social connections stimulate the brain and keep it active. Engaging in conversations and interactions helps maintain cognitive function and supports hearing health, as it keeps auditory pathways active.
He recounts a success story where addressing hearing loss led to positive changes in a senior’s cognitive well-being. A patient, who had withdrawn from social activities due to hearing difficulties, experienced mood improvement and cognitive engagement after receiving hearing aids. One of his family members has been using hearing aids for 15 -16 years. She is very comfortable using hearing aids and is able to understand everything properly.
Cost Perceptions of Hearing Aids
Addressing common concerns about the cost of hearing aids, Dr Dhir explains the perception with a unique perspective. “A hearing aid priced at 50k works for 4-5 years so calculating the cost per day comes very close to Rs 30/day which is a very nominal price for a device which significantly improves the quality of life. Instead of buying expensive phones, clothes etc patients should invest in a good hearing aid which will help them to communicate effectively and prevent social isolation and cognitive decline.”
Dr Dhir reminds: clear hearing isn’t just about sound; it’s about maintaining vibrant cognitive function. By prioritizing hearing health and embracing a holistic approach, seniors can nurture their minds and enjoy a more fulfilling life.