Are you forgetting something? You aren’t imagining it. Remembering day-to-day things is becoming harder and harder. Memory loss seems to progress fairly quickly once it’s detected. It becomes more incapacitating the more you become aware of it. Most people don’t realize that there’s a connection between memory loss and hearing loss.
And no, this isn’t just a normal part of getting older. There’s always a root cause for the loss of the ability to process memories.
Disregarded hearing loss is often that reason. Is your memory being affected by hearing loss? By determining the cause of your memory loss, you can take measures to delay its advancement considerably and, in many cases, bring your memory back.
This is what you should know.
How untreated hearing loss can result in memory loss
They’re not unrelated. As a matter of fact, scientists have found that individuals with untreated hearing loss are 24% more likely to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other profound cognitive problems.
There are complicated interrelated reasons for this.
Initially, the brain will have to work overtime to overcome hearing loss. You have to struggle to listen to something. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your brain needs to strain to process.
You start to use your deductive reasoning skills. You attempt to determine what people most likely said by removing unlikely possibilities.
Your brain is under added strain as a result. And when you can’t accurately use those deductive reasoning abilities it can be really stressful. The outcome of this can be misunderstandings, embarrassment, and sometimes 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 dealing with stress.
And something new starts to take place as hearing loss worsens.
You can start to “feel older” than you actually are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat what they said and straining to hear. If you’re always thinking that you’re getting old, it can become a self fulfilling prophecy.
We’re all familiar with that story of somebody whose loneliness causes them to lose their grip on the world around them. We humans are social creatures. Even introverts struggle when they’re never with others.
A person with untreated hearing loss gradually becomes secluded. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. You need people to repeat themselves at social gatherings making them much less enjoyable. You begin to be excluded from conversations by family and friends. Even when you’re in a room with lots of people, you might zone out and feel secluded. Eventually, you might not even have the radio to keep you company.
Being on your own just seems easier. You feel as if you can’t relate to your friends now because you feel older than them even though you’re not.
This frequent lack of mental stimulation makes it harder for the brain to process new information.
A chain reaction commences in the brain when someone begins to physically or mentally isolate themselves. Regions of the brain aren’t being stimulated anymore. When this takes place, those regions of the brain atrophy and quit functioning.
Our brain functions are very interconnected. Hearing is linked to speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other abilities.
This loss of function in one region of the brain can slowly move to other brain functions including hearing. Memory loss is linked to this process.
It’s just like the legs of a bedridden person. When they’re sick in bed for an extended time, leg muscles get very weak. They may quit working altogether. Learning to walk again might require physical therapy.
But the brain is different. Once it starts down this slippery slope, it’s hard to undo the damage. Shrinkage actually happens to the brain. Brain Scans demonstrate this shrinkage.
How memory loss can be stopped by hearing aids
You’re likely still in the beginning stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. You might not even hardly be aware of it. It’s not the hearing loss itself that is leading to memory loss, and that’s the good news.
It’s neglected hearing loss.
In this research, those who were using 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 began using hearing aids after symptoms began were able to delay the progression significantly.
As you get older, try to remain connected and active. If you want to keep your memory intact you need to understand that it’s closely related to hearing loss. Be mindful of the health of your hearing. Schedule a hearing test. And if there’s any reason you aren’t wearing your hearing aid, please speak with us about solutions – we can help!