Are you forgetting something? It isn’t your imagination. Remembering day-to-day things is becoming harder and harder. Memory loss seems to progress rather quickly once it’s noticed. It becomes more incapacitating the more aware of it you become. The majority of people don’t realize that there’s a connection between loss of memory and loss of hearing.
And no, this isn’t simply a normal part of aging. There’s always an underlying reason for the loss of the ability to process memories.
Disregarded hearing loss is often that reason. Is your hearing impacting your memory? By knowing the cause of your loss of memory, you can take steps to delay its progression considerably and, in many cases, bring back your memory.
Here are a few facts to think about.
How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss
They’re not unrelated. In fact, scientists have found that people with neglected hearing loss are 24% more likely to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other extreme cognitive issues.
There are complex interrelated reasons for this.
Initially, the brain will have to work overtime to overcome hearing loss. Listening to things requires extra effort. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your mind has to strain to process.
It becomes necessary to utilize deductive reasoning. You try to figure out what people most likely said by removing unlikely possibilities.
Your brain is under added strain because of this. It’s particularly stressful when your deductive reasoning skills lead you astray. This can lead to embarrassment, misunderstandings, and even bitterness.
How we process memory can be seriously affected by stress. When we’re stressed out, we’re spending brain resources that we should be using for memory.
And something new begins to occur as hearing loss worsens.
You can begin to “feel older” than you are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat themselves 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 the person who’s so lonely that they start to lose touch with reality. Human beings are created to be social. Even people who are introverted have difficulty when they’re never with other people.
Neglected hearing loss slowly isolates a person. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. Social gatherings are not so enjoyable because you need to ask people to repeat what they said. Friends and family begin to exclude you from discussions. Even when you’re in a room with lots of people, you may zone out and feel alone. Eventually, you might not even have the radio to keep you company.
It’s just easier to spend more time alone. You feel as if you can’t relate to your friends anymore because you feel older than them even though you’re not.
This frequent lack of mental stimulus makes it harder for the brain to process new information.
A chain reaction commences in the brain when a person begins to physically or mentally seclude themselves. There’s no more stimulation reaching regions of the brain. When this takes place, those parts of the brain atrophy and stop working.
Our brain functions are extremely coordinated. Hearing is linked to speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other abilities.
There will usually be a slow spread of this functional atrophy to other brain functions, like hearing, which is also linked to memory.
It’s analogous to how the legs become atrophied when a person is bedridden for a long time. When they are sick in bed for an extended time, leg muscles get really weak. They may possibly just quit working completely. Learning to walk again could 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 begins to shrink. Doctors can observe this on brain scans.
How memory loss can be prevented by hearing aids
You’re most likely still in the early stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. It might be barely noticeable. It’s not the hearing loss itself that is contributing to memory loss, and that’s the good news.
It’s neglected hearing loss.
Studies have shown that people that have hearing loss who regularly wear their hearing aid have the same chance of developing memory loss as somebody of the same age with healthy hearing. The progression of memory loss was delayed in individuals who started using their hearing aids after noticing symptoms.
Stay connected and active as you age. If you want to keep your memory intact you should recognize that it’s closely linked to hearing loss. Don’t ignore your hearing health. Get your hearing evaluated. And consult us about a solution if you’re not wearing your hearing aid for some reason.