Feel like you may be forgetting something crucial? It’s not your imagination. It really is getting harder to remember things in everyday life. Once you notice it, memory loss seems to develop quickly. It becomes more debilitating the more you become aware of it. Most people don’t realize that there’s a link between loss of memory and hearing loss.
If you think that this is just a normal part of getting older, you would be wrong. There’s always a root cause for the loss of the ability to process memories.
Neglected hearing loss is often that reason. Is your memory being impacted by hearing loss? By identifying the cause of your memory loss, you can take measures to slow down its progression significantly and, in many cases, bring back your memory.
This is what you need to know.
How neglected hearing loss can result in memory loss
They aren’t unrelated. Cognitive issues, including Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in individuals who suffer from hearing loss.
There are complex interrelated reasons for this.
At first, hearing loss causes the brain to work extra hard. You have to make an effort to listen to something. Now, your brain needs to work extra hard where in the past it just occurred naturally.
You start to use your deductive reasoning skills. You try to figure out what people probably said by eliminating unlikely choices.
This puts lots of added strain on the brain. It’s especially stressful when your deductive reasoning skills lead you astray. The consequence of this can be misconceptions, embarrassment, and sometimes even resentment.
How we process memory can be seriously impacted by stress. Mental resources that we should be using for memory get tied up when we’re suffering from stress.
And something new starts to happen as hearing loss worsens.
You can begin to “feel older” than you are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat what they said and struggling to hear. This can start a downhill spiral in which ideas of “getting old” when you’re actually not 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. When they’re never with other people, even introverts have a hard time.
A person with disregarded hearing loss gradually becomes isolated. It’s more difficult to talk on the phone. You need people to repeat themselves at social functions making them a lot less pleasant. You begin to be excluded from conversations by friends and family. Even when you’re in a room with lots of people, you may zone out and feel alone. The radio may not even be there to keep you company after a while.
Being alone just seems simpler. 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 regularly stimulated it becomes hard to process new information.
A chain reaction starts in the brain when somebody begins to physically or mentally isolate themselves. There’s no more stimulation going to regions of the brain. They stop working.
Our brain functions are very interconnected. Abilities like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all linked to hearing.
There will normally be a slow spread of this functional atrophy to other brain functions, like hearing, which is also linked to memory.
It’s just like the legs of a bedridden person. When they’re sick in bed for a long time, leg muscles get really weak. They may possibly just stop working completely. They might have to get physical therapy to learn to walk again.
But with the brain, this damage is much more challenging to rehabilitate. Shrinkage actually happens to the brain. Doctors can observe this on brain scans.
How a hearing aid can prevent memory loss
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably still in the beginning stages of memory loss. It may be hardly noticeable. It isn’t the hearing loss itself that is leading to memory loss, and that’s the good news.
It’s the fact that the hearing loss is untreated.
Studies have revealed that people that have 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 delayed in people who began using their hearing aids after noticing symptoms.
Stay connected and active as you get older. If you want to keep your memory intact you should recognize that it’s closely related to hearing loss. Don’t ignore your hearing health. Have your hearing examined. And if there’s any reason you’re not wearing your hearing aid, please consult us about solutions – we can help!