Feel like you might be forgetting something important? It’s not your imagination. It really is getting harder to remember things in daily life. Loss of memory seems to progress fairly quickly once it’s noticed. It becomes more incapacitating the more you become aware of it. Did you know memory loss is linked to hearing loss?
And no, this isn’t simply a natural occurrence of aging. There’s always an underlying reason for the loss of the ability to process memories.
Disregarded hearing loss is frequently that reason. Is your hearing affecting your ability to remember? By discovering the cause of your loss of memory, you can take measures to slow down its development significantly and, in many instances, bring your memory back.
Here are a few facts to consider.
How neglected hearing loss can contribute to memory loss
There is a relationship. In fact, scientists have found that people with neglected hearing loss are 24% more likely to experience dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other profound cognitive problems.
The reasons for this increased risk are multi-fold.
At first, hearing loss causes the brain to over-work. You have to struggle to hear things. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your brain has to strain to process.
You start to use your deductive reasoning abilities. You try to figure out what people most likely said by removing unlikely possibilities.
Your brain is under extra strain because of this. It’s especially stressful when your deductive reasoning skills lead you astray. The consequence of this can be misconceptions, embarrassment, and sometimes even resentment.
Stress has a huge impact on how we process memory. Mental resources that we should be utilizing for memory get tied up when we’re suffering from stress.
And something new starts to occur as hearing loss progresses.
This stress of having to work overtime to hear and asking people to repeat themselves makes a person “feel older” than they are. This can begin a downhill spiral in which ideas of “getting old” when you’re actually not become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We’re all familiar with that story of a person whose loneliness causes them to lose touch with the world around them. Human beings are meant to be social. Even people who are introverted struggle when they’re never around other people.
Untreated hearing loss slowly isolates a person. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. You need to have people repeat what they said at social gatherings making them a lot less enjoyable. You start to be excluded from conversations by friends and family. You might be off in space feeling separated even when you’re in a room full of people. Eventually, you may 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 now because you feel older than them even though you’re not.
When your brain isn’t frequently stimulated it becomes hard to process new information.
As somebody with neglected hearing loss begins to isolate themselves either physically or just mentally, a chain reaction starts in the brain. There’s no more stimulation going to regions of the brain. They quit functioning.
Our brain functions are very coordinated. Hearing is connected with speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other abilities.
This lack of function in one region of the brain can gradually move to other brain functions like hearing. Memory loss is linked to this process.
It’s exactly like the legs of a person who is bedridden. When they’re sick in bed for an extended time, leg muscles get really weak. They could quit working altogether. Learning to walk again may require physical therapy.
But when it comes to the brain, this damage is a lot more difficult to rehabilitate. The brain actually starts to shrink. Brain Scans reveal this shrinkage.
How memory loss can be stopped by hearing aids
You’re probably still in the beginning stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. It may be barely noticeable. The great news is that it isn’t the hearing loss that contributes to memory loss.
It’s untreated hearing loss.
Research has shown that people with hearing loss who regularly wear their hearing aid have the same chance of developing memory loss as someone of the same age with healthy hearing. The progression of memory loss was slowed in individuals who started wearing their hearing aids after noticing symptoms.
As you age, try to stay connected and active. If you want to keep your memory intact you need to understand that it’s closely related to hearing loss. Don’t disregard your hearing health. Schedule a hearing test. And if there’s any reason you aren’t using your hearing aid, please talk to us about solutions – we can help!