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You know how hard it can be to differentiate speech from noise if you’ve ever had a conversation in a place with loud background music or other noise. Even with recent technical advances, it remains one of the most significant obstacles for hearing aid to help a patient discern speech in loud environments.
However, research is now pointing to the role brain exercises can play in promoting the understanding of speech in these environments. Even though these practices won’t cure impaired hearing, the way we identify speech can be sharpened by these exercises for the mind. In this way, brain exercises would make a great supplement to hearing aids.
Brain training could you understand others better in noisy places.
In noisy environments, difficulty processing speech is one of the most common symptoms of hearing loss. Some conditions can be incredibly tricky, even with hearing aids, and leave you drained by the end of the night. But there is support at hand for those who frequently encounter this: You can now use an app to train the brain to hear better in noisy environments.
This is the conclusion of a study by researchers at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, who say that these games can enhance the perception of speech in noise.
The researchers observed a group of seniors trained on a brain-training video game for two months to come to these conclusions. The game helped them to identify subtle changes in sound, much like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. They noticed that those who played the game could accurately discern 25% more words in spoken phrases than in the placebo group.
Brain training could help with hearing loss caused by aging.
You may think that only changes in the ears can cause hearing loss, but in fact, an aging brain can cause hearing loss, too, as the way the brain processes sound has effects of its own.
Academics at the International Center for Hearing and Speech Research (ICHSR) were able to identify patients with healthy ears who found it more challenging to hear because of their brains.
How does this work? Our brains’ capacity to provide proper input to the ear decreases as we grow older (often starting in our 40s and 50s). It is not as sharp at filtering out unwanted sound content, which means that background noise can easily overpower it.
Any hearing-related difficulties caused by aging brains can be strengthened by cognitive brain training. Dr. Henry Mahncke, the CEO of the brain training game BrainHQ, argues that people who use ‘speed-processing’ brain training programs find that they feel sharper and more capable of noticing crucial details in their daily life. These details range from what someone says in a noisy restaurant to remembering a new contact’s phone number. So if you’ve found it more challenging as you’ve grown older to understand others in background noise, you might want to try speed-processing training.
We all know that practice makes better, and if you don’t keep working at it, whatever skill you build will be lost. And preparation for the brain is no different. The secret to preserving and further enhancing speech processing and overall listening is routine practice.
Brain Training is no substitute for professionally fitted hearing aids.
Does brain training mean you can throw out your hearing aids? Not so fast. Though brain stimulation helps the brain get better at listening, and these exercises can help you hear the noise more clearly, the right hearing aid, professionally fitted by a hearing expert, remains the front-line solution to hearing loss.
Researchers say that combining brain training with hearing aids can help you get the best out of your hearing aids, which will help enhance hearing in one place where hearing aids often struggle, recognizing speech in conditions where there is a lot of background noise.