Feel like you may be forgetting something crucial? It isn’t your imagination. Remembering everyday things is becoming more and more difficult. Once you notice it, loss of memory seems to develop quickly. The more aware you are of it, the more incapacitating it becomes. Did you know memory loss is connected to hearing loss?
And no, this isn’t simply a natural occurrence of aging. Losing the ability to process memories always has an underlying reason.
Ignored hearing loss is frequently that reason. Is your hearing impacting your memory? By identifying the cause of your memory loss, you can take measures to slow its progression considerably and, in many instances, bring your memory back.
This is what you should know.
How neglected hearing loss can contribute to memory loss
They aren’t unrelated. In fact, researchers have found that those with untreated hearing loss are 24% more likely to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other profound cognitive problems.
There are complex interrelated reasons for this.
At first, hearing loss causes the brain to over-work. You have to make an effort to listen to something. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your mind has to work to process.
You begin to use your deductive reasoning skills. You attempt to figure out what people probably said by eliminating unlikely possibilities.
This puts lots of additional strain on the brain. And when you can’t accurately use those deductive reasoning skills it can be really stressful. The outcome of this can be misunderstandings, embarrassment, and sometimes even bitterness.
How we process memory can be significantly impacted by stress. When we’re stressed out, we’re tying up brain resources that we should be utilizing for memory.
As the hearing loss advances, something new occurs.
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 constantly thinking that you’re getting old, it can come to be a self fulfilling prophecy.
We’ve all heard the trope of the person who’s so lonely that they start to lose touch with reality. Human beings are meant to be social. Even introverts struggle when they’re never with other people.
Untreated hearing loss slowly isolates a person. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. You need people to repeat what they said at social functions making them a lot less enjoyable. You start to be excluded from conversations by family and friends. You may be off in space feeling separated even when you’re with a room full of people. In the long run, you might not even have the radio to keep you company.
It’s just easier to spend more time alone. You feel as if 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 harder for the brain to process new information.
A chain reaction commences in the brain when somebody begins to physically or mentally isolate themselves. Regions of the brain are no longer being stimulated. They stop working.
Our brain functions are very coordinated. Abilities like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all linked to hearing.
This loss of function in one region of the brain can gradually move to other brain functions like hearing. Loss of memory is connected to this process.
It’s similar to how the legs become atrophied when somebody is bedridden for an extended time. Muscles get weak when they’re sick in bed over a long time period of time. They could quit working altogether. They may need to get physical therapy to learn to walk again.
But the brain is different. Once it starts down this slippery slope, it’s difficult to reverse the damage. Shrinkage actually happens to the brain. Brain Scans demonstrate this shrinkage.
How memory loss can be prevented by hearing aids
You’re most likely still in the early stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. It might be hardly noticeable. It’s not 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.
Research has shown that people that have hearing loss who regularly wear their hearing aid have the same risk of developing memory loss as someone of the same age with healthy hearing. People who began wearing hearing aids after symptoms appeared were able to delay the progression substantially.
As you get older, try to stay connected and active. Keep your memories, memory loss is connected to hearing loss. Pay attention to the health of your hearing. Have your hearing tested. And get in touch with us about a solution if you’re not using your hearing aid for some reason.