Are you forgetting something? You aren’t imagining it. It really is becoming harder to remember things in daily life. Loss of memory seems to develop fairly quickly once it’s noticed. It becomes more debilitating the more aware of it you become. Most people don’t realize that there’s a link between loss of memory and loss of hearing.
And no, this isn’t just a natural occurrence of aging. There’s always a root cause for the loss of the ability to process memories.
For many that cause is neglected hearing loss. Is your hearing affecting your memory? By determining the cause of your loss of memory, you can take measures to slow its progression substantially and, in many cases, bring your memory back.
Here’s what you should know.
How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss
There is a connection. Cognitive issues, like Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in individuals who have hearing loss.
The reasons for this higher risk are multi-fold.
To begin with, hearing loss causes the brain to work extra hard. You have to struggle to listen to something. Now, your brain has to work extra hard where before it just occurred naturally.
You start to use your deductive reasoning abilities. You attempt to figure out what people most likely said by removing unlikely choices.
Your brain is under additional strain because of this. And when you’re unable to accurately use those deductive reasoning abilities it can be really stressful. The outcome of this can be misconceptions, embarrassment, and sometimes even bitterness.
Stress has a significant impact on how we process memory. When we’re stressed, we’re tying up brain resources that we should be utilizing for memory.
As the hearing loss worsens, something new happens.
You can start to “feel older” than you actually are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat what they said and struggling to hear. If you’re always thinking that you’re getting old, it can become a self fulfilling prophecy.
We’ve all heard the trope of somebody who’s so lonely that they begin to lose touch with reality. Humans are social creatures. Even introverts struggle when they’re never around other people.
A person with neglected hearing loss gradually becomes isolated. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. Social gatherings are less enjoyable because you have to ask people to repeat what they said. You start to be excluded from conversations by family and friends. Even when you’re in a room with lots of people, you may space out and feel secluded. The radio may not even be there to keep you company after a while.
It’s just easier to spend more time by yourself. You feel older than people your age and don’t feel that you can relate to them anymore.
When your brain isn’t regularly stimulated it becomes difficult to process new information.
A chain reaction commences in the brain when a person starts to physically or mentally isolate themselves. There’s no more stimulation reaching regions of the brain. They stop working.
There’s a high degree of interconnectivity between the various regions of the brain. Hearing is linked to speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other skills.
This loss of function in one region of the brain can gradually spread to other brain functions like hearing. Memory loss is connected to this process.
It’s just like the legs of a bedridden person. Muscles get weak when they’re sick in bed over a long time period of time. They could stop working altogether. Learning to walk again may call for physical therapy.
But the brain is different. Once it goes down this slippery slope, it’s hard to reverse the damage. The brain actually starts to shrink. Brain Scans reveal this shrinkage.
How a hearing aid can prevent memory loss
You’re probably still in the early stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. You might not even barely be aware of it. It isn’t the hearing loss itself that is leading to memory loss, and that’s the good news.
It’s the fact that the hearing loss is untreated.
Research has shown that people with hearing loss who regularly use their hearing aid have the same chance of developing memory loss as someone of the same age with healthy hearing. Individuals who started wearing hearing aids after symptoms appeared were able to slow the progression considerably.
As you age, try to remain connected and active. Keep your memories, memory loss is linked to hearing loss. Pay attention to the health of your hearing. Schedule a hearing test. And if there’s any reason you’re not wearing your hearing aid, please consult us about solutions – we can help!