Are you forgetting something? It isn’t your imagination. It really is becoming harder to remember things in daily life. Once you become aware of it, memory loss seems to progress quickly. The more you are aware of it, the more incapacitating it is. Most people aren’t aware that there’s a connection between loss of memory and hearing loss.
And no, this isn’t just a natural part of aging. There’s always an underlying reason for the loss of the ability to process memories.
For many individuals that cause is neglected hearing loss. Is your hearing affecting your ability to remember? By discovering the cause of your memory loss, you can take steps to slow its advancement significantly and, in many instances, bring back your memory.
This is what you should know.
How untreated hearing loss can lead to memory loss
They’re not unrelated. Cognitive issues, such as Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in individuals who suffer from hearing loss.
There are complicated interrelated reasons for this.
To begin with, hearing loss causes the brain to over-work. You have to strain to listen to something. While this came naturally before, it’s now something your brain has to work to process.
It becomes necessary to activate deductive reasoning. When attempting to listen, you eliminate the unlikely possibilities to determine what someone probably said.
This puts a lot of extra strain on the brain. It’s particularly stressful when your deductive reasoning skills lead you astray. This can result in embarrassment, misconceptions, and even resentment.
Stress has a huge impact on how we process memory. When we’re stressed, we’re spending brain resources that we should be using for memory.
As the hearing loss worsens, something new takes place.
You can begin to “feel older” than you actually are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat what they said and struggling to hear. This can begin a downhill spiral in which ideas of “getting old” when you’re still young become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We’ve all heard the trope of the person who’s so lonely that they begin to lose touch with reality. Humans are social creatures. Even people who are introverted have difficulty when they’re never around other people.
Untreated hearing loss slowly isolates a person. It’s more difficult to have phone conversations. Social gatherings are not so enjoyable because you need to ask people to repeat themselves. Friends and family start to exclude you from discussions. You might be off in space feeling separated even when you’re with a room full of people. In the long run, you might not even have the radio to keep you company.
Being alone just seems easier. You feel older than people your age and don’t feel that you can relate to them now.
When your brain isn’t frequently stimulated it becomes hard to process new information.
A chain reaction starts in the brain when a person starts to physically or mentally seclude themselves. Parts of the brain are no longer being stimulated. When this takes place, those regions of the brain atrophy and quit functioning.
There’s a high degree of interconnectivity between the different regions of the brain. Skills like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all connected to hearing.
This lack of function in one region of the brain can gradually move to other brain functions including hearing. Memory loss is connected to this process.
It’s analogous to how the legs become atrophied when someone is bedridden for an extended time. When they are sick in bed for a long time, leg muscles get very weak. They could possibly just stop working completely. Learning to walk again might require physical therapy.
But with the brain, this damage is a lot more challenging to rehabilitate. Shrinkage actually happens to the brain. Brain Scans reveal this shrinkage.
How memory loss can be stopped by hearing aids
You’re most likely still in the early stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. You may not even hardly notice it. The great news is that it’s not the hearing loss that contributes to memory loss.
It’s untreated hearing loss.
In these studies, those who were using their hearing aids on a regular basis were no more likely to have memory loss than somebody of a similar age who doesn’t have hearing loss. The advancement of memory loss was slowed in people who started wearing their hearing aids after noticing symptoms.
As you get older, try to stay connected and active. If you want to keep your memory intact you need to understand that it’s closely linked to hearing loss. Be mindful of the health of your hearing. Schedule a hearing exam. And consult us about a solution if you’re not using your hearing aid for some reason.