Are you forgetting something? It isn’t your imagination. Remembering everyday things is becoming harder and harder. Memory loss seems to develop rather quickly once it’s noticed. It becomes more incapacitating the more you become aware of it. The majority of people don’t realize that there’s a connection between memory loss and loss of hearing.
And no, this isn’t simply a normal part of getting older. There’s always a root cause for the loss of the ability to process memories.
For many that cause is neglected hearing loss. Is your hearing impacting your ability to remember? You can slow down the onset of memory loss significantly and maybe even get some back if you are aware of the cause.
Here are a few facts to think about.
How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss
There is a link. Cognitive issues, such as Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in individuals who suffer from hearing loss.
There are complicated interrelated reasons for this.
To begin with, hearing loss causes the brain to work extra hard. Listening to things takes additional effort. Now, your brain needs to work extra hard where in the past it just occurred naturally.
It becomes necessary to activate deductive reasoning. When trying to hear, you remove the unlikely choices to figure out what someone most likely said.
This puts a lot of additional stress on the brain. It’s especially stressful when your deductive reasoning skills lead you astray. The outcome of this can be misconceptions, embarrassment, and sometimes even bitterness.
How we process memory can be significantly impacted by stress. Mental resources that we should be utilizing 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 harder to hear and needing people to repeat what they said makes a person “feel older” than they actually are. This can begin a downhill spiral in which ideas of “getting old” when you’re still young become 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. Even introverts have difficulty when they’re never around others.
A person with neglected hearing loss slowly becomes secluded. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. Social get-togethers are less enjoyable because you need to ask people to repeat what they said. Family and friends start to exclude you from conversations. Even when you’re in a room with lots of people, you might zone out and feel alone. Eventually, you may not even have the radio to keep you company.
It’s just easier to spend more time by yourself. You feel older than others your age and don’t feel like you can relate to them now.
When your brain isn’t frequently stimulated it becomes hard to process new information.
A chain reaction commences in the brain when a person starts to physically or mentally seclude themselves. There’s no more stimulation going to regions of the brain. They stop functioning.
Our brain functions are extremely interconnected. Hearing is linked to speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other abilities.
This loss of function in one region of the brain can gradually spread to other brain functions including hearing. Loss of memory is linked to this process.
It’s exactly like the legs of a person who is bedridden. When they’re sick in bed for an extended time, leg muscles get very weak. They may possibly just quit working completely. They may have to get 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 starts to shrink. Doctors can observe this on brain scans.
How memory loss can be stopped by hearing aids
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably still in the early stages of memory loss. You might not even barely be aware of it. The good news is that it’s not the hearing loss that contributes to memory loss.
It’s the fact that the hearing loss is untreated.
In these studies, people who were wearing their hearing aids regularly were no more likely to have memory loss than someone around the same age who has healthy hearing. The advancement of memory loss was slowed in individuals who started wearing their hearing aids after experiencing symptoms.
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. Be mindful of the health of your hearing. Have your hearing evaluated. And consult us about a solution if you’re not using your hearing aid for some reason.