Hearing: Beyond the Ears

October 8, 2020 by Cristina Twigg
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In almost all fields of science, research is ongoing to uncover new truths and potential updates on how we understand the world around us. In audiology, that’s no different. There are a variety of hearing tests in use that are designed to see how well your ears are working. A traditional hearing test evaluates how well your ears are doing their job – collecting, amplifying, organizing, and transmitting the amplified and organized signal to the auditory nerve. But, as we know, there is SO much more to hearing than what happens in the ears!

Overview:
Once that signal hits the nerve, that’s when the magic happens. The signal travels from the ear to the brainstem, midbrain, and then the auditory cortices, criss-crossing your brain multiple times while sending information up and down that chain. What if all of the criss-crossing isn’t working as it should? Perhaps there is an unexpected pause, or a part of the brain is somehow damaged? What if processing speed is slower and we can’t keep up with what we’re hearing, like rapid conversation or lots of background noise in conversation? Or maybe our memory has been impacted and we can’t associate a sound with anything we have heard before? Well, in these cases, communication breaks down—it’s harder to learn new things, we get tired, and we may become frustrated. Sometimes the result can be depression, anxiety, social isolation, strained relationships, and possibly, cognitive decline. In more serious cases, there may be a need for a more robust test—and we now have a way to test for cognitive decline with Cognivue.

About Cognivue:
Cognivue is a quick, 6-minute computer-based screening that involves watching a screen and moving a joystick. It’s super easy to take and is not dependent on hearing. The screening tests the following:

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

Test results provide insight into what happens beyond the ear AND beyond the auditory system, providing you and your Audiologist very meaningful information. Whether or not you’re experiencing hearing loss, there’s no reason not to take the test! Give us a call and we can give you more information on Cognivue, and you can even make an appointment to take the test with us!

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