By Ron Hendricks

Dementia could be reduced if everyone with hearing loss would seek treatment. Dr. Pam Matthews, Oklahoma City Audiologist, explained to the Monday meeting of Central Oklahoma Chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America (COC HLAA) how hearing loss and decreased brain functions are connected. If the brain does not receive signals from the ear, it must work harder to fill in the blank spaces to the detriment of other brain functions — bringing on cognitive disorders. An early visit to the audiologist at first sign of hearing loss, could help prevent Dementia.
Pam discussed how a new hearing aid wearer reported good hearing in the low registers, but had lost over 50% in the upper ranges. New hearing aids allowed the wearer to once again hear high pitched sounds like children’s laughter, the squeak of a door hinge, or the tinkling of running water. It is encouraging to know that a visit to the audiologist could help combat potential loss of brain activity. A hearing test is the best way to know for sure if you have hearing loss.
Do you have hearing loss? Hear a few of the most common symptoms according to the National HLAA: Do you:
* Ask people to repeat what they say * Have trouble following the conversation in groups * Think others are mumbling * Frequently turn up the volume on the TV or car radio * Have difficulty on the phone * Oversleep because you didn’t hear your alarm clock * Have difficulty hearing or understanding speech at the movies * Avoid going to noisy parties and restaurants
Hearing tests are easy and available online and at many locations here in the OKC metro. In many cases, the initial screening is free. See any of the fine Audiologists here in the Oklahoma City area for more information.

COC HLAA has served Oklahoma’s hearing loss population for 27 years and is going strong for 2019. Two informational and educational meetings are held monthly and both are open to the public and are free. Meetings are captioned and are a safe and friendly place if you have hearing loss or love someone with hearing loss. Again, this year we will give two scholarships of $1,000 each to students heading for higher education this fall. We are actively involved in making Oklahoma City more accessible to those with hearing loss thru our LOOP OKC drive — getting hearing Loops installed in public facilities. And for over 20 years the Hearing Helpers Room has encouraged Oklahomans to live well with hearing loss; open Monday – Friday, 10-3, at 5100 N Brookline, Suite 100. Stop by to try a device in person or check one out for a free trial at home. We have over 100 assistive hearing devices on hand. Volunteers have ordering information and are available to answers any questions. For more information visit the website at