Are you forgetting something? It isn’t your imagination. It really is getting more difficult to remember things in daily life. Once you become aware of it, memory loss seems to develop quickly. It becomes more incapacitating the more aware of it you become. Most people don’t realize that there’s a link between loss of memory and loss of hearing.
And no, this isn’t just a normal part of aging. There’s always an underlying reason for the loss of the ability to process memories.
Ignored hearing loss is often that reason. Is your hearing impacting your memory? By discovering the cause of your memory loss, you can take steps to slow down its development significantly and, in many cases, bring your memory back.
Here are some facts to consider.
How neglected hearing loss can contribute to memory loss
There is a relationship. Cognitive problems, like Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in people who suffer from hearing loss.
The reasons for this higher risk are multi-fold.
Initially, the brain will need to work harder to overcome hearing loss. Listening to things demands extra effort. Now, your brain needs to work hard where before it just happened naturally.
You begin to use your deductive reasoning abilities. When trying to hear, you remove the unlikely choices to determine what someone probably said.
This puts a lot of added stress on the brain. It’s especially stressful when your deductive reasoning skills lead you astray. This can lead to embarrassment, misunderstandings, and even bitterness.
How we process memory can be significantly affected by stress. When we’re stressed out, we’re spending brain resources that we should be using for memory.
As the hearing loss worsens, something new takes place.
This stress of having to work harder to hear and needing people to repeat what they said makes a person “feel older” than they are. This can begin a downhill spiral in which ideas of “getting old” when you’re still young become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We’re all familiar with that narrative of someone whose loneliness causes them to lose touch with the world around them. Human beings are created to be social. Even people who are introverted have difficulty when they’re never with other people.
A person with neglected hearing loss gradually becomes secluded. It’s harder to have phone conversations. Social get-togethers are not so enjoyable because you have to ask people to repeat what they said. You start to be excluded from conversations by friends and family. Even when you’re in a room with a lot of people, you may space out and feel secluded. The radio may not even be there to keep you company after a while.
Being on your own just seems simpler. You feel older than others your age and don’t feel that you can relate to them now.
When your brain isn’t frequently stimulated it becomes hard to process new information.
A chain reaction starts in the brain when someone begins to physically or mentally isolate themselves. Parts of the brain are no longer being stimulated. They stop working.
There’s a high degree of interconnectivity between the various regions of the brain. Abilities like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all related to hearing.
This lack of function in one region of the brain can slowly spread to other brain functions like hearing. Memory loss is linked 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 could possibly just stop working completely. They may have to have physical therapy to learn to walk again.
But the brain is different. Once it goes down this slippery slope, it’s hard to reverse the damage. The brain actually begins to shrink. Brain Scans show this shrinkage.
How a hearing aid can prevent memory loss
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably still in the early stages of memory loss. You might not even hardly be aware of it. It isn’t the hearing loss itself that is leading to memory loss, and that’s the good news.
It’s neglected hearing loss.
Studies have shown that people with hearing loss who regularly use their hearing aid have the same chance of developing memory loss as somebody of the same age with healthy hearing. Individuals who began using hearing aids after symptoms appeared were able to delay the progression significantly.
Stay connected and active as you get older. Keep your memories, memory loss is linked to hearing loss. Pay attention to the health of your hearing. Schedule a hearing exam. And if there’s any reason you’re not using your hearing aid, please talk to us about solutions – we can help!