Are you forgetting something? 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 develop 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 just a normal part of getting older, you would be wrong. There’s always an underlying reason for the loss of the ability to process memories.
Neglected hearing loss is frequently that reason. Is your hearing affecting your memory? By determining the cause of your loss of memory, you can take measures to delay its progression substantially and, in many cases, bring back your memory.
Here are a few facts to consider.
How untreated hearing loss can lead to memory loss
There is a connection. In fact, researchers have found that people who have untreated hearing loss are 24% more likely to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other severe cognitive issues.
The reasons for this increased risk are multi-fold.
To begin with, hearing loss causes the brain to over-work. Listening to things takes added effort. While this came naturally before, it’s now something your mind has to work to process.
It becomes necessary to utilize deductive reasoning. You try to figure out what people most likely said by eliminating unlikely possibilities.
Your brain is under additional strain as a result. And when you’re unable to accurately use those deductive reasoning skills it can be particularly stressful. The consequence of this can be misunderstandings, embarrassment, and sometimes even bitterness.
Stress has a significant effect on how we process memory. Mental resources that we should be utilizing for memory get tied up when we’re suffering from stress.
And something new starts to occur as hearing loss progresses.
You can begin to “feel older” than you 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 come to be a self fulfilling prophecy.
We’ve all heard the trope of the person who’s so lonely that they begin to lose touch with reality. Human beings are created to be social. When they’re never with others, even introverts have a hard time.
A person with untreated hearing loss gradually becomes secluded. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. Social get-togethers are less enjoyable because you have to ask people to repeat what they said. Family and friends begin to exclude you from conversations. Even when you’re in a room with lots of people, you might space out and feel secluded. The radio might not even be there to keep you company after a while.
Being alone just seems simpler. You feel older than people your age and don’t feel that you can relate to them anymore.
When your brain isn’t regularly stimulated it becomes difficult to process new information.
A chain reaction commences in the brain when somebody begins to physically or mentally isolate themselves. There’s no more stimulation reaching parts of the brain. When this occurs, those parts of the brain atrophy and quit working.
There’s a high level of interconnectivity between the different regions of the brain. Hearing is linked to speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other abilities.
There will normally be a slow spread of this functional atrophy to other brain functions, like hearing, which is also linked to memory.
It’s just like the legs of a bedridden person. When they are sick in bed for a long time, leg muscles get really weak. They could possibly just quit working completely. They might need to have physical therapy to learn to walk again.
But the brain is different. Once it starts down this slippery slope, it’s difficult to reverse the damage. The brain actually starts to shrink. Brain Scans show this shrinkage.
How a hearing aid can stop memory loss
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably still in the beginning stages of memory loss. You may not even barely 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 untreated hearing loss.
In these studies, those who were using their hearing aids on a regular basis were no more likely to have memory loss than someone of a similar age who has healthy hearing. The advancement of memory loss was slowed in individuals who began using their hearing aids after experiencing symptoms.
Stay connected and active as you age. If you want to keep your memory intact you should understand that it’s closely related to hearing loss. Don’t disregard your hearing health. Schedule a hearing exam. And get in touch with us about a solution if you’re not using your hearing aid for some reason.