Feel like you may be forgetting something important? You’re not imagining it. It really is getting more difficult to remember things in daily life. Memory loss seems to progress rather quickly once it’s noticed. It becomes more incapacitating the more you become aware of it. The majority of people don’t realize that there’s a link 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 an underlying reason.
Neglected hearing loss is frequently that reason. Is your memory being affected by hearing loss? You can slow down the development of memory loss considerably and perhaps even get some back if you know the cause.
Here are some facts to consider.
How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss
They’re not unrelated. Cognitive issues, such as Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in individuals who have hearing loss.
The reasons for this increased risk are multi-fold.
Initially, the brain will have to work overtime to overcome hearing loss. You have to struggle to hear things. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your brain needs to strain to process.
It becomes necessary to activate deductive reasoning. When trying to hear, you remove the unlikely choices to determine what someone probably said.
Your brain is under added strain because of this. And when you can’t accurately use those deductive reasoning skills it can be particularly stressful. This can lead to embarrassment, misunderstandings, and even bitterness.
How we process memory can be significantly impacted by stress. When we’re stressed, we’re spending brain resources that we should be using for memory.
As the hearing loss worsens, something new occurs.
You can begin to “feel older” than you are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat what they said and straining to hear. This can begin a downhill spiral in which thoughts of “getting old” when you’re still young become 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. We humans are social creatures. When they’re never with other people, even introverts struggle.
A person with neglected hearing loss slowly becomes secluded. It’s harder to have phone conversations. Social get-togethers are not so enjoyable because you have to ask people to repeat what they said. You begin to be excluded from conversations by family and friends. You might be off in space feeling secluded even when you’re with a room full of people. Eventually, you may not even have the radio to keep you company.
It’s just better to spend more time by yourself. You feel as if 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 commences in the brain when somebody begins to physically or mentally isolate themselves. Parts of the brain are no longer being stimulated. When this occurs, those regions of the brain atrophy and quit working.
Our brain functions are very interconnected. Hearing is connected with speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other skills.
There will typically be a slow spread of this functional atrophy to other brain activity, like hearing, which is also linked to memory.
It’s analogous to how the legs become atrophied when someone is bedridden for an extended time. When they’re sick in bed for an extended time, leg muscles get very weak. They could possibly just stop working completely. They might need 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. The brain actually starts to shrink. Brain Scans reveal this shrinkage.
How a hearing aid can stop memory loss
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably still in the early stages of memory loss. It might be hardly noticeable. It’s not the hearing loss itself that is contributing to memory loss, and that’s the good news.
It’s neglected hearing loss.
In these studies, those who were wearing 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 progression of memory loss was delayed in individuals who started using their hearing aids after noticing symptoms.
As you age, try to remain connected and active. Keep your memories, memory loss is linked to hearing loss. Be mindful of the health of your hearing. Get your hearing evaluated. And get in touch with us about a solution if you’re not wearing your hearing aid for some reason.