The hearing aid industry moves quickly with the times, just look at the way Bluetooth technology has fast become part and parcel as an option. Yet another integration of modern gadgetry is the Oticon HearingFitness app. This exciting new product allows Oticon hearing aid wearers to track general fitness data right on their smartphones simply by wearing their hearing devices!
Beyond the basic data like measurements of heart rate, sleep patterns and other general health matters, Oticon’s HearingFitness App reports back to users their individual hearing aid use, listening environments and other behaviors. Both directions of this data gathering stream benefit in continually improving the ways that Oticon serves hearing aid wearers.
The FitBit craze motivated folks to exercise like never before. All of a sudden, Step Challenges popped up across the country encouraging people to get regular exercise. And they did! There is something incredibly compelling about seeing our behaviors reflected back to us in concrete numbers. While we might take note of one or two nights of poor sleep every now and then, evidence of routinely shorting ourselves that precious shut eye has the potential to actually result in a restructuring of priorities and a commitment to a full night of sleep a majority of the time.
The importance of hearing health
We’ve long accepted the correlation between physical exercise and health. However, more and more understanding revolves around the holistic nature of health. There aren’t one or two targets to hit that ensure a healthy body, both physiologically and mentally. Hearing health is incredibly important in maintaining healthy bodies and minds.
Hearing loss can be linked to a whole host of health conditions, particularly if undiagnosed and untreated. According to the Better Hearing Institute, 95% of people with hearing loss caused by problems in the inner ear can be treated with hearing aids. However, only about 25% of people with hearing loss choose to intervene. This may be because of a myriad of reasons, from denial to antiquated ideas of hearing aids. It might even be a result of miseducation about the life changing benefits that hearing aids can bring.
People with undiagnosed and untreated hearing loss are far more likely to report symptoms of depression. If left untreated, isolating behaviors tend to develop. This is often a result of the social challenges that come along with hearing loss. Communication becomes anxiety-producing and exhausting. When intervention isn’t sought, opportunities for human connection become fewer and far between.
Beyond mental and emotional health, there is a strong link between hearing loss and Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. At this time, we can’t know the cause for the link, though promising theories exist. One such theory suggests that the same social isolation that results in depression increases the risk for dementia. It’s is also believed that the areas of the brain responsible for housing memory are those that also translate sound information into hearing. As a person with undiagnosed or untreated hearing loss stops using this sound translating area of the brain, neuroplasticity allows for reorganization. It’s this restructuring that may account for an interference in memory function.
A commitment to continued excellence
Oticon’s HearingFitness App is in line with the priorities of Oticon, who for years have used a “brain first” approach. For the past two decades, Oticon’s researchers have concentrated their work on developing BrainHearing technologies. This dovetails with the current understanding of hearing which dictates that a majority of our hearing actually happens in the brain. While our ears provide the basic reception, that information is just vibration until it reaches the brain. It is there that meaning is actually made from the sound information received. Hearing aids of the past amplified sound, but BrainHearing technology takes into consideration the processing that takes place in the brain. This allows an integration of technology based upon demonstrated use, so that people with a hearing impairment can maintain the ability and mental energy to engage socially.
A bright future with Oticon’s HearingFitness App
Now that researchers are able to collect and put to use data based upon user experience in a much broader fashion, the audiological technology in the imminent future is bound to be even more exciting! If you want to learn more about Oticon hearing aids or the HearingFitness app, contact us at Hearing Health today.