Feel like you might be forgetting something crucial? You’re not imagining it. It really is becoming harder to remember things in daily life. Once you become aware of it, loss of memory seems to progress quickly. It becomes more incapacitating the more you become aware of it. Most people don’t realize that there’s a connection between loss of memory and hearing loss.
And no, this isn’t simply a normal occurrence of aging. Losing the ability to process memories always has a root cause.
Disregarded hearing loss is often that reason. Is your ability to remember being affected by hearing loss? By discovering the cause of your loss of memory, you can take measures to delay its progression substantially and, in many instances, bring your memory back.
Here are a few facts to consider.
How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss
They’re not unrelated. As a matter of fact, scientists have found that individuals who have neglected hearing loss are 24% more likely to experience dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other severe cognitive issues.
There are complex interrelated reasons for this.
Initially, the brain will need to work harder to compensate for hearing loss. Listening to things takes extra effort. Now, your brain needs to work extra hard where in the past it just happened naturally.
It becomes necessary to utilize deductive reasoning. You try to determine what people most likely said by eliminating unlikely choices.
Your brain is under added strain because of this. And when you’re unable to accurately use those deductive reasoning skills it can be really stressful. The outcome of this can be misunderstandings, embarrassment, and sometimes even bitterness.
How we process memory can be seriously impacted by stress. When we’re stressed out, we’re spending brain resources that we should be using for memory.
As the hearing loss worsens, something new happens.
This stress of having to work harder to hear and needing people to repeat themselves makes a person “feel older” than they are. If you’re always thinking that you’re getting old, it can come to be 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 created 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 what they said at social functions making them a lot less pleasant. Family and friends start to exclude you from discussions. Even when you’re in a setting with a lot of people, you may space out and feel alone. Eventually, you might not even have the radio to keep you company.
It’s just better to spend more time by yourself. You feel older than people your age and don’t feel like you can relate to them anymore.
When your brain isn’t frequently stimulated it becomes hard to process new information.
A chain reaction starts 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 regions of the brain. Skills like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all related to hearing.
This lack of function in one area of the brain can slowly move to other brain functions including hearing. Loss of memory is linked to this process.
It’s just like the legs of a bedridden person. Muscles get weak when they’re sick in bed over a long time period of time. They may quit working altogether. They may have to get physical therapy to learn to walk again.
But when it comes to the brain, this damage is a lot more difficult to rehabilitate. Shrinkage actually happens to the brain. Doctors can see this on brain scans.
How a hearing aid can prevent memory loss
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably still in the early stages of memory loss. It may be hardly noticeable. The good news is that it’s not the hearing loss that leads to memory loss.
It’s neglected hearing loss.
In this research, individuals who were using their hearing aids on a regular basis were no more likely to have memory loss than somebody around the same age who has healthy hearing. Individuals who began using hearing aids after symptoms appeared were able to slow the progression considerably.
Stay connected and active as you age. If you want to keep your memory intact you need to recognize that it’s closely linked to hearing loss. Don’t dismiss your hearing health. Schedule a hearing exam. And if there’s any reason you aren’t using your hearing aid, please speak with us about solutions – we can help!