Feel like you might be forgetting something crucial? You aren’t imagining it. Remembering everyday things is getting harder and harder. Loss of memory seems to develop fairly quickly once it’s noticed. The more aware you are of it, the more debilitating it is. Did you know memory loss is linked to hearing loss?
If you believe that this is just a normal part of getting older, you would be wrong. Losing the ability to process memories always has an underlying reason.
For many people that cause is neglected hearing loss. Is your hearing affecting your ability to remember? By knowing the cause of your memory loss, you can take steps to slow down its advancement considerably and, in many cases, bring back your memory.
This is what you should know.
How neglected hearing loss can lead to memory loss
There is a link. Cognitive problems, such as Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in individuals who suffer from hearing loss.
The reasons for this increased risk are multi-fold.
Initially, the brain will need to work harder to overcome hearing loss. Listening to things requires additional effort. Now, your brain needs to work extra hard where before it just happened naturally.
You start to use your deductive reasoning skills. When trying to listen, you remove the unlikely choices to figure out what someone probably said.
Your brain is under extra strain as a result. It’s especially stressful when your deductive reasoning abilities lead you astray. This can cause embarrassment, misunderstandings, and even resentment.
How we process memory can be seriously affected by stress. Mental resources that we should be using for memory get tied up when we’re suffering from stress.
As the hearing loss advances, something new occurs.
You can start to “feel older” than you are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat themselves and straining to hear. If you’re always thinking that you’re getting old, it can become a self fulfilling prophecy.
We’re all familiar with that story of someone whose loneliness causes them to lose touch with the world around them. Human beings are meant to be social. When they’re never with other people, even introverts have a hard time.
Untreated hearing loss slowly isolates a person. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. You need to have people repeat themselves at social events making them much less enjoyable. Friends and family begin to exclude you from conversations. Even when you’re in a setting with a lot of people, you might zone out and feel alone. The radio might not even be there to keep you company over time.
Being on your own just seems easier. You feel like 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.
A chain reaction commences in the brain when somebody begins to physically or mentally seclude themselves. Parts of the brain aren’t being stimulated anymore. They stop functioning.
There’s a high degree of interconnectivity between the different parts of the brain. Hearing is connected with speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other abilities.
There will normally be a gradual spread of this functional atrophy to other brain functions, like hearing, which is also linked to memory.
It’s similar to how the legs become atrophied when a person is bedridden for a long period of time. Muscles get weak when they’re sick in bed over a period of time. They could possibly just quit working completely. Learning to walk again might require physical therapy.
But the brain is different. Once it starts down this slippery slope, it’s difficult to reverse the damage. The brain actually begins to shrink. Brain Scans reveal this shrinkage.
How a hearing aid can stop memory loss
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably still in the early stages of memory loss. You might not even barely be aware of it. It’s not the hearing loss itself that is leading to memory loss, and that’s the good news.
It’s neglected hearing loss.
In these studies, individuals who were using their hearing aids on a regular basis were no more likely to have memory loss than a person around the same age who doesn’t have hearing loss. The advancement of memory loss was delayed in people who began wearing their hearing aids after experiencing symptoms.
As you age, try to remain connected and active. Keep your memories, memory loss is connected to hearing loss. Pay attention to the health of your hearing. 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!