Feel like you might be forgetting something crucial? It isn’t your imagination. It really is becoming more difficult to remember things in daily life. Loss of memory seems to develop fairly quickly once it’s detected. It becomes more debilitating the more you become aware of it. Did you know memory loss is connected to hearing loss?
And no, this isn’t simply a natural part of getting older. Losing the ability to process memories always has an underlying reason.
For many that cause is untreated hearing loss. Is your memory being affected by hearing loss? By knowing the cause of your memory loss, you can take measures to slow down its advancement significantly and, in many cases, bring back your memory.
Here’s what you should know.
How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss
There is a link. Cognitive problems, including 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 need to work harder to compensate for hearing loss. Listening to things demands additional effort. Now, your brain has to work hard where before it just happened naturally.
You begin to use your deductive reasoning abilities. You try to figure out what people most likely said by eliminating unlikely choices.
Your brain is under additional strain because of this. And when you’re unable to accurately use those deductive reasoning skills it can be particularly stressful. This can lead to embarrassment, misconceptions, and even bitterness.
Stress has a huge effect on how we process memory. When we’re stressed, we’re spending brain resources that we should be using for memory.
And something new starts to occur as hearing loss progresses.
You can begin 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’ve all heard the trope of someone who’s so lonely that they start to lose touch with reality. Human beings are created to be social. When they’re never with others, even introverts have a hard time.
A person with neglected hearing loss gradually becomes isolated. It’s harder to have phone conversations. You need people to repeat themselves at social gatherings making them a lot less pleasant. You begin to be excluded from conversations by family and friends. You may be off in space feeling secluded even when you’re in a room full of people. In the long run, you might not even have the radio to keep you company.
Being alone just seems easier. You feel older than people your age and don’t feel like you can relate to them anymore.
This regular lack of mental stimulus makes it harder for the brain 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 reaching regions of the brain. They stop working.
There’s a high degree of interconnectivity between the different parts of the brain. Hearing is connected with speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other skills.
This loss of function in one area of the brain can gradually spread to other brain functions like hearing. Loss of memory is linked to this process.
It’s similar to how the legs become atrophied when a person is bedridden for a long period of time. When they’re sick in bed for a long time, leg muscles become really weak. They may possibly just quit working completely. They might have to get physical therapy to learn to walk again.
But when it comes to the brain, this damage is a great deal more difficult to rehabilitate. The brain actually begins to shrink. Brain Scans reveal this shrinkage.
How a hearing aid can prevent memory loss
You’re probably still in the beginning stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. You may not even hardly notice it. 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 neglected.
In this research, individuals who were wearing their hearing aids on a regular basis were no more likely to have memory loss than a person of a similar age who doesn’t have hearing loss. The advancement of memory loss was slowed 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. Don’t ignore your hearing health. Schedule a hearing test. And if there’s any reason you’re not wearing your hearing aid, please speak with us about treatment options – we can help!