Fending off hearing loss fueled dementia

I was unable to figure out how to reblog the NYTimes opinion piece by Katherine Bouton called Straining to Hear and Fend Off Dementia published on February 11, 2013.

It opens with her comment:

At a party the other night, a fund-raiser for a literary magazine, I found myself in conversation with a well-known author whose work I greatly admire. I use the term “conversation” loosely. I couldn’t hear a word he said. But worse, the effort I was making to hear was using up so much brain power that I completely forgot the titles of his books.

And boy to I relate to that situation. My own made up term for this is “cognitive input overload.” – which means I end up melting down in the corner, unable to understand anything.  In the article, I noted the following: Frank Lin, an otolaryngologist and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, describes this phenomenon as “cognitive load.” Cognitive overload is the way it feels. Essentially, the brain is so preoccupied with translating the sounds into words that it seems to have no processing power left to search through the storerooms of memory for a response.

The article goes on to discuss hearing loss and brain function reduction to which I say, “Why are we not teaching ALL these people ASL!?”  Oliver Sachs has demonstrated through experimentation that ASL is a language.  It operates in the same centers of the brain as oral language.  And since hearing aids don’t really help people keep the edge we should be signing up every new HoH person for sign language classes.  We don’t.

I encourage everyone to read it – it has some startling studies and statistics.




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