The Value Of Screening For Cognitive Function

Screening For Cognitive Function Feature

You might wonder why an audiologist would offer screenings for cognitive ability in a hearing clinic, and the truth is that brain health and hearing go hand in hand.

Studies since the late ’80s have reported that hearing loss is related to the decline of cognitive abilities. Essentially, not being able to hear or communicate well can result in cognitive decline or act as a catalyst in its development.

Frank Lin, associate professor in the division of otology, neurology, and skull base surgery at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, reports that those “with hearing loss severe enough to interfere with their ability to have conversations were 24 percent more likely than those with normal hearing to experience cognitive impairment.” That’s a big percentage!

The good news, though, is that the right hearing treatment can significantly support a person’s brain processing and memory.

Seeing An Audiologist For Brain And Hearing Health

Regular cognitive skills screenings mean we can catch any signs of cognitive decline in a patient early, and their hearing treatment plan can be adjusted to treat all aspects of their brain health.

Any type of medical impairment can affect your brain, and a cognitive screening can possibly catch this early too.

So much can affect your hearing health: heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, eye damage. 

Monitoring any changes to your hearing health helps us treat it better, which is why we also offer cognitive screening.

What Is A Cognitive Skills Test?

A cognitive skills test is an assessment done on a computerized screen that measures a person’s cognitive function abilities. FDA-approved, the testing process has taken fifteen years to refine, and it is highly respected by medical professionals.

Cognitive screening looks at six different areas of the brain:

  • Motor skills and visual alertness
  • Shape and motor perception
  • Letter and word perception
  • Letter and word memory
  • Shape and motion memory
  • Ability to think about and follow abstract thoughts

A cognitive appraisal also measures the speed and time it takes to process and physically react to what is said or happening.

The tool most commonly used in the industry to perform a comprehensive cognitive screening is called Cognivue.

What Happens At A Cognitive Screening?

The test only takes about fifteen minutes, and you take it sitting down and following the guided steps on a computerized screen.

  1. Watch an introductory video and do two practice sessions.
  2. Do the ten-minute evaluation, answering by turning a wheel to select the picture you think answers each question best.
  3. Watch a one-minute video that explains what happens next.

The difference between cognitive screening and a regular test is that this is just an evaluation tool rather than an assessment that you pass or fail.

Once the assessment is done, I get the results immediately, and I can then go over them with you and suggest any changes to your current hearing plan.

Benefits Of Screening For Cognitive Impairment

Screening for any sign of cognitive decline means I can make sure you are getting the best hearing treatment possible that addresses all your hearing health needs.

  • If I see anything at all that shows your brain is not functioning as well as it could, I can refer you to the right medical professional for a closer look and possible treatment.
  • The assessment can pick up on any sign of cognitive decline early — even signs those around you might not have picked up on yet — ensuring you get the right preventative treatment plan early.
  • A yearly cognitive skills assessment lets me know exactly how well your brain is functioning each year and means I can watch closely for any changes and adjust your hearing treatment as needed.

Anything that affects your hearing is on my radar, and I would not be doing my job properly if I didn’t do all I can to optimize your health.

Have More Questions About A Cognitive Screening?

I’m here to make sure your hearing is always as good as it can be, and by adding cognitive screening to your hearing wellness check, you can feel more secure in knowing that we are optimizing your hearing health with the best possible tools at our disposal.

Call me at (360) 464-9780 with any questions, or book your cognitive screening for yourself or a loved one. I’m here to help.

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Julie VanAusdal

Since 2006, Ms. VanAusdal has operated South Sound Audiology, applying 20 years of education, experience, and expertise to provide hearing solutions to pediatric and adult patients in the greater Olympia community. She is passionate about restoring the relationships and opportunities her patients lost because of hearing challenges. Her greatest motivation is seeing her patients enjoy a more active, rewarding, and independent lifestyle due to better hearing. Her commitment to our community shines through in her patient-centered approach to her audiology practice.

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