Feel like you might be forgetting something crucial? It isn’t your imagination. It really is getting more difficult to remember things in everyday life. Loss of memory seems to develop rather quickly once it’s noticed. The more you are aware of it, the more debilitating it is. 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 getting older. There’s always a root cause for the loss of the ability to process memories.
For many people that cause is neglected hearing loss. Is your hearing affecting your memory? By knowing the cause of your memory loss, you can take steps to delay its progression substantially and, in many instances, bring your memory back.
Here are some facts to think about.
How untreated hearing loss can lead to memory loss
They aren’t unrelated. In fact, researchers have found that individuals with neglected hearing loss are 24% more likely to experience dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other extreme cognitive problems.
There are complex interrelated reasons for this.
Initially, the brain will have to work overtime to overcome hearing loss. You have to strain to hear things. Now, your brain has to work extra hard where before it just occurred naturally.
It becomes necessary to utilize deductive reasoning. You attempt to determine what people most likely said by removing unlikely possibilities.
This puts a lot of extra stress on the brain. It’s especially stressful when your deductive reasoning abilities lead you astray. This can result in embarrassment, misunderstandings, and even resentment.
How we process memory can be seriously affected by stress. Mental resources that we should be using for memory get tied up when we’re dealing with stress.
And something new starts to happen as hearing loss advances.
You can start to “feel older” than you actually are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat what they said and struggling to hear. 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 narrative of a person whose loneliness causes them to lose their grip on the world around them. We humans are social creatures. When they’re never with other people, even introverts struggle.
Neglected hearing loss slowly isolates a person. It’s harder to talk on the phone. Social gatherings are less enjoyable because you have to ask people to repeat what they said. Friends and family begin to exclude you from discussions. Even when you’re in a room with lots of people, you might space out and feel alone. The radio may not even be there to keep you company after a while.
Being on your own just seems simpler. You feel like you can’t relate to your friends anymore because you feel older than them even though you’re not.
This frequent lack of mental stimulus makes it more difficult for the brain to process new information.
As a person with neglected hearing loss starts to seclude themselves either physically or just mentally, a chain reaction starts in the brain. Regions of the brain are no longer being stimulated. When this occurs, those parts of the brain atrophy and stop working.
Our brain functions are very interconnected. Abilities like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all connected to hearing.
This loss of function in one region of the brain can gradually move to other brain functions like hearing. Memory loss is connected to this process.
It’s exactly like the legs of a person who is bedridden. Muscles become weak when they’re sick in bed over a period of time. They may quit working entirely. Learning to walk again might call for physical therapy.
But the brain is different. Once it starts down this slippery slope, it’s difficult to reverse the damage. The brain actually begins to shrink. Brain Scans show this shrinkage.
How memory loss can be stopped by hearing aids
You’re most likely still in the beginning stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. You might not even hardly be aware of it. The good news is that it isn’t the hearing loss that contributes to memory loss.
It’s the fact that the hearing loss is neglected.
Research has shown that people with hearing loss who regularly wear their hearing aid have the same risk of developing memory loss as somebody of the same age with healthy hearing. The advancement of memory loss was delayed in people who started using their hearing aids after noticing symptoms.
As you age, try to remain connected and active. Keep your memories, memory loss is connected to hearing loss. Don’t ignore your hearing health. Have your hearing evaluated. And if there’s any reason you’re not using your hearing aid, please speak with us about solutions – we can help!