Cognitive Screening

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Cognitive Testing Allows For The Early Detection Of Decreased Cognitive Function

A decade-long study by Dr. Frank Lin indicated that there might be up to a five-fold increase in dementia for individuals with mild, medium, or severe hearing loss.

Though it is complex to explain how the loss of sensory stimulation from your decline in hearing increases your risk for developing dementia, the link between the two conditions gives audiologists plenty of reasons for concern.

Helping hundreds of patients and their families live a richer, more independent lifestyle by combining our expertise with top-level technology has been the purpose of South Sound Audiology for more than 15 years.

Cognivue Screening is another breakthrough technology for the early detection of cognitive decline available to our patients.

Schedule Your Cognitive Screening Appointment

The Link Between Hearing Loss And Cognitive Decline

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There are several theories about why hearing loss and cognitive decline go hand-in-hand. Four classifications established by the American Academy of Neurology identify the different reasons why hearing loss can lead to dementia.

#1. Common Risk Factors.

The largest common risk factor is age, but high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes may also make a contribution since they often accompany hearing loss. Hearing loss is related to the narrowing of blood vessels, and these conditions affect the network of small blood vessels that feed the cochlea.

#2. Mental Overload.

When hearing loss is left untreated, the central auditory pathways become overloaded, making it hard to conduct, analyze, and process sound. This, in turn, causes other parts of the brain, especially those involved in thinking and memory, to pitch in order to compensate, redirecting thinking and memory resources to help with hearing rather than cognitive functions.

#3. Structural Changes.

As sound stimulation from hearing loss declines, areas of the brain used for sound processing begin to atrophy or shrink.

#4. Social Isolation.

Many people experiencing hearing loss begin to avoid social events or remove themselves from social gatherings because the struggle to keep up with conversations in noisy settings is stressful and uncomfortable. University of British Columbia researchers reported that for every 10-decibel drop in hearing, there is a subsequent increase in social isolation by 52%.
Cognitive screening room of South Sound Audiology
Julie VanAusdal, Cognitive screening specialist of South Sound Audiology

What Is Cognitive Screening, And Why Is It Important?

A long-term (25 years) French study in the October 2018 issue of the Journals of Gerontology identified a significant connection between self-reported hearing loss and dementia. The study showed that the cases of disabilities, dementia, and depression among elderly men with elevated hearing loss continued to increase, but those using hearing aids or with no diagnosed hearing impairment saw little to no cognitive decline.

This study supports the connection between cognitive decline and the failure to address hearing loss, causing concern for doctors specializing in hearing health.

South Sound Audiology has added cognitive testing using Clarity TM by Cognivue to help our patients identify and manage cognitive decline, but it also serves as an advanced level tool for developing the right hearing care plan and hearing aid selection.

How Does Cognitive Screening Work?

Thrive by Cognivue provides a personalized, consistent, and reliable assessment of your overall brain health. In addition to measuring cognitive decline, the test establishes a baseline score, which you and your doctor can use to monitor and detect changes as they develop.

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Features of Clarity TM include:

  • Quick assessments (about 10 minutes)
  • Non-invasive
  • Interactive and intuitive
  • Self-administered
  • Immediate results after testing
  • Easy to understand results
  • Secure and confidential

These FDA-approved tests eliminate testing variability and inaccuracy through a unique software algorithm designed to use patient responses in order to adapt the test according to the patient’s performance.

What Cognitive Screening Results Show

Cognitive testing results provide an outline for you and your doctor to evaluate the various conditions that could be contributing to cognitive decline, such as hearing loss, enabling you to establish a plan of action to limit continuing decline.

Results from testing are separated into three different categories:

  • Scores over 75 show normal cognitive function.
  • Scores between 51 and 74 reveal some or low cognitive impairment requiring some minor interventions.
  • Scores 50 and below indicate significant cognitive impairment for which you need to take urgent action to prevent further damage.

Schedule A Cognitive Screening At South Sound Audiology

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Many of the patients we see in our clinic have put off addressing their hearing loss for some time, leading them to begin experiencing some degree of cognitive decline by the time we conduct our hearing assessment. At South Sound Audiology we take our commitment to provide better hearing and improved quality of life for our patients seriously, which is why we have added Cognitive Testing to the services we provide.

If you, or a loved one, are struggling with recall, making decisions, organizing tasks, losing your sense of direction, or other issues related to cognitive decline, contact our hearing care professionals to schedule a Cognitive Screening by submitting the adjacent form.

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