Woman with hearing loss doing dishes because she forgot to turn the dishwasher on.

As of late, Chris has been a little bit forgetful. She forgot her doctor’s appointment two months in a row (time to reschedule again). And she even overlooked running the dishwasher before bedtime (I guess this morning she will need to handwash her coffee cup). Things have been getting lost lately. Chris has been feeling mentally fatigued and drained all the time but, strangely, she doesn’t feel forgetful.

It can be difficult to recognize that feeling until it’s sneaking up on you. But in spite of how forgetful you might feel, the trouble isn’t really about memory. Your hearing is the actual problem. And that means there’s one small device, a hearing aid, that can help you substantially improve your memory.

How to Improve Your Memory And Overall Cognitive Function

So, the first step you can take to improve your memory, and getting everybody’s name right at your next meeting or to make sure you schedule that day off for your eye exam, is to get your hearing tested. A typical hearing examination will be able to find out if you have hearing loss and how severe any impairment might be.

Chris hasn’t recognized any signs of hearing loss yet so she hesitates to make an appointment. She doesn’t really have a problem hearing in a crowded room. And when she’s at work, she doesn’t have a problem hearing team members.

But just because her symptoms aren’t apparent doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Actually, one of the first symptoms of hearing impairment is memory loss. And it all has to do with brain strain. Here’s how it works:

  • Your hearing begins to fade, perhaps so gradually you don’t notice.
  • However slight, your ears start to detect a lack of sound input.
  • The sounds that you can hear, need to be amplified and interpreted which makes your brain work extra hard.
  • You can’t detect any real difference but in order to make sense of sound your brain needs to work extra hard.

Your brain only has so much processing power which can really be dragged down by that kind of strain. So things such as cognitive function and memory take a back seat.

Dementia And Hearing Loss

If you take loss of memory to its most obvious extremes, you might end up looking at something like dementia. And hearing loss and dementia do have a connection, though there are a number of other factors at work and the cause and effect relationship remains somewhat uncertain. Still, there is a higher danger of cognitive decline in individuals who have neglected hearing loss, which can start as memory loss and eventually (over the years) become more extreme concerns.

Keeping Fatigue at Bay With Hearing Aids

This is why it’s necessary to manage your hearing loss. Marked increase in cognitive function was noted in 97.3% of people with hearing loss who used hearing aids for at least 18 months according to one study.

Similar results have been observed in several other studies. It’s unquestionably helpful to wear hearing aids. Your overall cognitive function gets better when your brain doesn’t need to work as hard to hear. Sure, a hearing aid isn’t a memory panacea, cognitive decline or memory problems can be a complex mix of causes and variables.

Memory Loss Can be The First Signal of Hearing Loss

This kind of memory loss is almost always temporary, it’s a sign of mental fatigue more than an underlying change in how your brain operates. But that can change if the underlying problems remain un-addressed.

So if you’re recognizing some loss of memory, it can be an early sign of hearing loss. You should make an appointment with your hearing professional as soon as you recognize these symptoms. As soon as your underlying hearing issues are addressed, your memory should go back to normal.

As an added benefit, your hearing health will likely get better, as well. The decline in your hearing will be slowed substantially by wearing hearing aids. These little devices, in a sense, will enhance your general health not only your hearing.

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