September brain respond to HL

How Does the Brain Respond to Hearing Loss?


For the past several months we have been discussing the correlation of audition and cognition.  We hear with our ears but listen or process what we hear with our brain.  I have thought for years our hearing aid technology has far surpassed our testing…until now.

I am proud and pleased to announce that I have completed the CogniHear Program and have received my certificate.  After completing the online training and passing the necessary testing, we are now a certified CogniHear provider.

So what does that mean for you?  We have always tested the peripheral auditory system to determine if your hearing loss is medically or surgically correctable.  However, the majority of the folks we see are not candidates for medical intervention for their hearing problems.  Most everyone complains of understanding speech in the presence of background noise, yet most hearing healthcare providers do not complete this type of testing.

Our understanding of speech in complex listening environments requires ear-to-brain processing.  We are now incorporating that type of testing to get a better understanding of your challenges.  A Functional Hearing Assessment is what we call our Ear to Brain testing.

After confirming your hearing difficulty is not due to a wax impaction, you will complete a cognitive screening. Certain cognitive skills, including memory, executive function and processing speed, play a big role in our ability to understand speech in the presence of background noise. A key component in our Functional Hearing Assessment is the FDA-approved Cognivue.

Cognivue is not an IQ test or a list of questions. It is a simple automated assessment that takes about 10 minutes to complete.  Recent research indicates that treating hearing loss can slow down or potentially even reverse certain aspects of cognitive decline. Cognivue helps us to develop a hearing treatment plan that meets the needs of your ears and your brain.

After we determine the softest sounds you can hear, otherwise known as the “beep beep test” and evaluate your understanding of single syllable words in quiet, we test your sound preferences using loud tones and recorded conversational speech. This test allows us to understand which sounds are uncomfortably loud for you and how long you can tolerate being in noisy situations. Your sensitivity impacts your willingness to wear hearing devices, which ones we choose and how we program them.

We will then have you repeat recorded sentences presented at a conversational volume from the speakers in the soundproof booth. Background noise will also be coming from the speakers at a slightly softer volume than the sentences. This test measures how well you can understand speech in a real-world environment and how much listening effort was required. This information helps us recommend the best treatment options for you, including hearing aid selection/programming, wireless accessories, and auditory rehabilitation.

We want you to hear the difference properly programmed hearing aids can make, so we use Real Ear Measurement to fit and program hearing aids to ensure good audibility for speech. Then you will go back into the booth and we’ll repeat the Hearing in Noise Test.

You will be pleasantly surprised when word recognition goes up and listening effort goes down!

After a detailed discussion of the results of your Functional Hearing Assessment, we will work together to develop your “Hearing Treatment Plan, which will include the “Five Keys Communication” auditory rehabilitation program.

We will recommend the best hearing aid technology for your hearing loss, listening needs, preferences, and lifestyle. We are here for you each step of the journey As your health, hearing, and lifestyle change over time, we will reevaluate and adjust your plan as needed.

Hearing aid adaption rate is overall low and many who invest in hearing technology don’t wear their devices as they should.  We want to make a change and with this testing in place we know we can make a difference.

If you are interested in scheduling a Functional Hearing Assessment, give Jamie or Diane a call at 804-633-0023. Check us out on Facebook and our website:  We are still working through some of the kinks of this new procedure so be patient…we know we can make the difference.  Jane, Cheryl and I look forward to seeing you soon.