Feel like you might be forgetting something crucial? You aren’t imagining it. It really is becoming harder to remember things in everyday life. Once you notice it, loss of memory seems to progress quickly. It becomes more incapacitating the more aware of it you become. Did you know memory loss is connected to hearing loss?
If you believe that this is simply a natural part of the aging process, you would be wrong. Losing the ability to process memories always has a root cause.
For many that cause is neglected hearing loss. Is your hearing impacting your memory? By identifying the cause of your memory loss, you can take steps to slow down its development considerably and, in many instances, bring your memory back.
This is what you should know.
How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss
They aren’t unrelated. As a matter of fact, researchers have found that those with untreated hearing loss are 24% more likely to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other extreme cognitive issues.
The reasons for this higher risk are multi-fold.
At first, hearing loss causes the brain to over-work. Listening to things requires additional effort. While this came naturally before, it’s now something your mind has to work to process.
It becomes necessary to utilize deductive reasoning. When attempting to hear, you eliminate the unlikely choices to figure out what someone most likely said.
This puts a lot of additional strain on the brain. And when you can’t accurately use those deductive reasoning skills it can be especially stressful. This can lead to embarrassment, misunderstandings, and 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.
As the hearing loss advances, something new occurs.
You can start to “feel older” than you actually are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat themselves and struggling to hear. If you’re always thinking that you’re getting old, it can come to be a self fulfilling prophecy.
We’ve all heard the trope of somebody who’s so lonely that they begin to lose touch with reality. Humans are social creatures. Even people who are introverted struggle when they’re never around others.
A person with neglected hearing loss slowly becomes isolated. It’s harder to have phone conversations. You need to have people repeat what they said at social events making them much less enjoyable. You start to be excluded from conversations by family and friends. Even when you’re in a setting with lots 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 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 stimulation makes it more difficult for the brain to process new information.
A chain reaction commences in the brain when a person starts to physically or mentally seclude themselves. Regions of the brain are no longer being stimulated. They stop functioning.
Our brain functions are extremely coordinated. Skills like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all related to hearing.
There will normally be a slow spread of this functional atrophy to other brain functions, like hearing, which is also connected to memory.
It’s analogous to how the legs become atrophied when a person is bedridden for an extended period of time. When they are sick in bed for a long time, leg muscles get really weak. They could stop working altogether. They might have to get physical therapy to learn to walk again.
But with the brain, this damage is a lot more difficult to rehabilitate. The brain actually starts to shrink. Brain Scans demonstrate this shrinkage.
How memory loss can be stopped by hearing aids
You’re probably still in the early stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. It may be barely noticeable. The great 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 this research, individuals who were using their hearing aids on a regular basis were no more likely to have memory loss than a person around the same age who has healthy hearing. The advancement of memory loss was delayed in individuals who started wearing their hearing aids after noticing symptoms.
Stay connected and active as you age. If you want to keep your memory intact you should understand that it’s closely linked to hearing loss. Pay attention to the health of your hearing. Have your hearing examined. And if there’s any reason you’re not using your hearing aid, please speak with us about solutions – we can help!