Feel like you may be forgetting something important? You aren’t imagining it. It really is becoming more difficult to remember things in everyday life. Memory loss seems to advance fairly quickly once it’s noticed. The more aware you are of it, the more debilitating it is. Did you know memory loss is linked to hearing loss?
And no, this isn’t simply a normal part of getting older. Losing the ability to process memories always has a root cause.
Ignored hearing loss is frequently that reason. Is your hearing impacting your ability to remember? You can delay the development of memory loss significantly and possibly even get some back if you know what’s causing it.
This is what you should know.
How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss
There is a relationship. Cognitive issues, like Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in people who have hearing loss.
The reasons for this increased risk are multi-fold.
To begin with, hearing loss causes the brain to work extra hard. Listening to things demands added effort. Now, your brain needs to work hard where in the past it just happened naturally.
You start to use your deductive reasoning abilities. When trying to hear, you eliminate the unlikely possibilities to determine what someone probably said.
Your brain is under added strain because of this. It’s particularly stressful when your deductive reasoning skills let you down. This can cause embarrassment, misconceptions, and even bitterness.
Stress has a huge impact on how we process memory. Mental resources that we should be using for memory get tied up when we’re experiencing stress.
And something new begins to occur as hearing loss advances.
This stress of having to work overtime to hear and asking people to repeat themselves makes a person “feel older” than they actually are. If you’re always thinking that you’re getting old, it can become a self fulfilling prophecy.
We’re all familiar with that narrative of someone whose loneliness causes them to lose their grip on the world around them. Humans are social creatures. When they’re never with other people, even introverts struggle.
A person with neglected hearing loss gradually becomes isolated. It’s more difficult to have phone conversations. Social get-togethers are less enjoyable because you have to ask people to repeat themselves. Friends and family start to exclude you from conversations. Even when you’re in a room with a lot of people, you might zone out and feel secluded. In the long run, you might not even have the radio to keep you company.
Being on your own just seems easier. You feel older than others your age and don’t feel like you can relate to them now.
When your brain isn’t regularly stimulated it becomes difficult to process new information.
A chain reaction commences in the brain when a person begins to physically or mentally isolate themselves. Regions of the brain aren’t being stimulated anymore. When this happens, those regions of the brain atrophy and quit functioning.
Our brain functions are extremely coordinated. Skills like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all connected to hearing.
There will normally be a slow spread of this functional atrophy to other brain activity, like hearing, which is also linked to memory.
It’s exactly like the legs of a bedridden person. When they’re sick in bed for an extended time, leg muscles get very weak. They could possibly just stop 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. Doctors can observe this on brain scans.
How memory loss can be stopped by hearing aids
You’re probably still in the beginning stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. You may not even hardly be aware of it. The great news is that it’s not the hearing loss that contributes to memory loss.
It’s neglected hearing loss.
In this research, those who were wearing their hearing aids regularly were no more likely to have memory loss than someone of a similar age who doesn’t have hearing loss. People who started using hearing aids after symptoms appeared were able to slow the progression substantially.
Stay connected and active as you get older. If you want to keep your memory intact you should understand that it’s closely related to hearing loss. Don’t disregard your hearing health. Have your hearing examined. And if there’s any reason you’re not wearing your hearing aid, please speak with us about solutions – we can help!