Hearing & Balance Doctors

Introducing Our New Cognitive Screening System

Introducing Our New Cognitive Screening System

The link between hearing loss and dementia has been well documented over the last decade.

Beginning with Dr. Frank Lin’s research in 2011 at Johns Hopkins Medical Center and the National Institute on Aging, we learned that seniors with a hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia than their normal-hearing peers.

Over the last 9 years, the evidence has continued to accumulate suggesting that the slow onset of age-related hearing loss can have a significant impact on brain function – especially with memory and cognition.

The detection of early cognitive decline has traditionally been the domain of primary care physicians, internal medicine doctors, or neurologists.

Audiologists have always been the leaders in detecting hearing loss but have also started to assist in cognitive screenings.

Groundbreaking Technology

At our clinic, we have recently acquired a new cognitive screening system called Cognivue. Cognivue is an FDA-approved computer-based system that provides a snapshot of an individual’s cognitive ability in one moment in time.

It is not a diagnostic tool but rather an adjunctive screening tool that is a good first step in proactively assessing one’s cognitive health.

The test is simple and easy to take: it is somewhat like a computer game (played with a joystick while looking at a computer screen) that involves pattern recognition and memory. Testing is not currently covered by health insurance but is available for a nominal fee.

Results are given immediately, discussed with the patient, and shared with the patient’s physician.

The doctors of audiology at Hearing & Balance Doctors have always taken treating hearing loss seriously.

With this new cognitive assessment, we are also taking our patients’ cognitive health seriously. We encourage proactive measures that promote long-term cognitive health and wellness.

If you are interested in a cognitive screening, appointments are available. If you would like to discuss your cognitive concerns or your hearing, our doctors are also available for free consultations. Contact us today at (435) 688-8991.

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Dr. Ryan Whitaker

Dr. Whitaker joined Hearing & Balance Doctors of Utah in 2009. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Brigham Young University in 2005 with his Bachelors of Science in Audiology and Speech Pathology. He then received his Doctor of Audiology from the University of Arizona where he minored in Cognitive Neuroscience (the study of how people perceive sound). While at the University of Arizona, he specialized in evoked potentials, specifically researching Cortical Auditory Evoked Potentials and the Acoustic Change Complex. He gained clinical experience at Tucson Ear, Nose, and Throat; St. Joseph’s Hospital Balance Center; Arizona Hearing Specialists; and the Center for Hearing Impaired Children. Dr. Whitaker was raised in Orem, Utah with three older sisters and a younger brother (who is also an audiologist). His grandfather was a cartoonist for the Walt Disney Studios where he drew Donald Duck and many characters in Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland before starting the BYU Motion Picture Studio. Dr. Whitaker is married and has three sons. He is passionate about college football and also enjoys hiking in Southern Utah, reading, and traveling. He has traveled extensively through South Asia including Thailand, India, Nepal, and a church mission to the Philippines.

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