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Woman with hearing loss doing dishes because she forgot to turn the dishwasher on.

Lately, Chris has been a little forgetful. She forgot her doctor’s appointment for the second month in a row (now she needs to reschedule again). And before she went to bed she even overlooked running the dishwasher (looks like this morning she will have to handwash her coffee cup). Lately she’s been allowing things fall through the cracks. Oddly, Chris doesn’t actually feel forgetful…she just feels mentally depleted and fatigued constantly.

Only when that feeling is sneaking up on you, will you start to realize it. Frequently, though, the problem isn’t your memory, in spite of how forgetful you may appear. The real problem is your hearing. And that means there’s one small device, a hearing aid, that can help you substantially improve your memory.

How to Enhance Your Memory And General Cognitive Function

So, the first step you can take to improve your memory, and getting everybody’s name right at your next meeting or to make sure you plan that day off for your dentist appointment, is to have your hearing checked. If you have hearing loss a hearing examination will alert you to how severe your impairment is.

Chris hasn’t noticed any signs of hearing loss yet so she hesitates to schedule an appointment. She can hear in noisy rooms fairly well enough. And she’s never had a tough time listening to any of her team members at work.

But just because her symptoms aren’t obvious doesn’t mean that they aren’t present. In fact, memory loss is frequently one of the very first noticeable symptoms of hearing loss. And strain on the brain is the underlying cause. It works like this:

  • Your hearing starts to diminish, perhaps so gradually you don’t realize.
  • However mild, your ears start to detect a lack of sound input.
  • Your brain begins working a little bit harder to decipher and amplify the sounds you can hear.
  • You can’t notice any real difference but in order to make sense of sound your brain needs to work extra hard.

Your brain only has a limited amount of processing power which can really be stressed by that kind of burden. So you have less mental energy for things like, well, memory or for other cognitive functions.

Dementia And Hearing Loss

If you take loss of memory to its most obvious extremes, you could end up looking at something like dementia. And hearing loss and dementia do have a connection, though what the actual cause-effect relationship is, continues to be somewhat unknown. Still, individuals with neglected hearing loss, over time, have a higher risk for experiencing cognitive decline, starting with some mild memory loss and increasing to more extreme cognitive problems.

Wearing Hearing Aids Can Help You Prevent Fatigue

That’s why dealing with your hearing loss is essential. Noticeable increase in cognitive function was noted in 97.3% of people with hearing loss who wore hearing aids for at least 18 months according to one study.

A variety of other studies have shown similar results. Hearing aids really help. Your general cognitive function increases when your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear. Memory loss and problems with cognitive function can have many complex factors and hearing aids aren’t always a magic bullet.

The First Sign of Hearing Loss is Often Memory Loss

This kind of memory loss is mostly a function of mental fatigue and is usually not permanent. But if the underlying issues are not addressed, that can change.

So if you’re recognizing some loss of memory, it can be an early sign of hearing loss. When you first notice those symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your hearing professional. Your memory will probably go back to normal when your fundamental hearing problems are addressed.

And your hearing will probably improve as well. A hearing aid can help stop the decline in your hearing. These little devices, in this way, will enhance your general health not only your hearing.

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