Did you turn the TV up last night? It might be a sign of hearing loss if you did. But you can’t quite remember and that’s an issue. And that’s becoming more of an issue recently. While you were working yesterday, you couldn’t even remember your new co-worker’s name. Yes, you just met her but your memory and your hearing seem to be declining. And there’s just one common denominator you can find: aging.
Certainly, both memory and hearing can be impacted by age. But it’s even more significant that these two can also be connected to each other. At first, that may seem like bad news (you have to deal with memory loss and hearing loss together…great). But the reality is, the relationship between hearing loss and memory can often be a blessing in disguise.
The Connection Between Memory And Hearing Loss
Hearing impairment can be straining for your brain in a number of ways long before you recognize the decrease in your hearing. Your brain, memory, and even social life can, over time, be overwhelmed by the “spillover”.
How does a deficiency of your ear impact such a large part of your brain? There are numerous ways:
- Social isolation: Communication will become strained when you have a hard time hearing. Social isolation will frequently be the outcome, Once again, your brain is lacking vital interaction which can result in memory problems. When those (metaphorical) muscles aren’t used, they begin to deteriorate. Social isolation, depression, and memory problems will, over time, develop.
- It’s getting quieter: Things will get quieter when your hearing begins to diminish (this is particularly true if your hearing loss is neglected). For the parts of your brain that interprets sound, this can be quite dull. And if the brain isn’t used it starts to weaken and atrophy. That can cause a certain amount of generalized stress, which can impact your memory.
- Constant strain: Your brain will experience a hyper-activation fatigue, particularly in the early stages of hearing loss. That’s because your brain will be struggling to hear what’s going on out in the world, even though there’s no input signal (it puts in a lot of energy trying to hear because without realizing you have hearing loss, it believes that everything is quiet). Your brain and your body will be left fatigued. That mental and physical exhaustion often leads to loss of memory.
Your Body Has An Early Warning System – It’s Called Memory Loss
Memory loss isn’t exclusive to hearing loss, naturally. There are lots of things that can cause your recollections to begin getting fuzzy, such as fatigue and illness (either physical or mental varieties). Eating better and sleeping well, for example, can generally improve your memory.
This can be a case of your body throwing up red flags. The red flags go up when things aren’t working right. And one of those red flags is forgetting what your friend said yesterday.
But these warnings can help you know when things are beginning to go wrong with your hearing.
Loss of Memory Often Indicates Hearing Loss
The signs and symptoms of hearing impairment can often be difficult to recognize. Hearing loss is one of those slowly advancing ailments. Harm to your hearing is usually further along than you would want by the time you actually observe the symptoms. But if you get your hearing checked soon after detecting some memory loss, you may be able to catch the issue early.
Getting Your Memories Back
In instances where hearing loss has impacted your memory, whether it’s through social separation or mental exhaustion, the first step is to treat the root hearing issue. When your brain stops overworking and straining, it’ll be capable of returning to its regular activities. Be patient, it can take a while for your brain to get used to hearing again.
Memory loss can be a practical warning that you need to keep your eye on the state of your hearing and protecting your ears. As the years start to add up, that’s certainly a lesson worth remembering.