Are you forgetting something? It’s not your imagination. Remembering day-to-day things is getting harder and harder. Loss of memory seems to progress fairly quickly once it’s detected. The more aware you are of it, the more debilitating it becomes. Did you know memory loss is connected to hearing loss?
And no, this isn’t simply a natural occurrence of aging. There’s always an underlying reason for the loss of the ability to process memories.
For many people that cause is neglected hearing loss. Is your memory being impacted by hearing loss? You can slow the onset of memory loss substantially and possibly even get some back if you are aware of the cause.
Here are some facts to think about.
How neglected hearing loss can contribute to memory loss
There is a link. Cognitive issues, including Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in people who have hearing loss.
The reasons for this increased risk are multi-fold.
Initially, the brain will need to work harder to compensate for hearing loss. You have to strain to hear things. Now, your brain needs to work extra hard where before it just occurred naturally.
You begin to use your deductive reasoning abilities. You attempt to determine what people most likely said by removing unlikely choices.
Your brain is under additional strain as a result. It’s especially stressful when your deductive reasoning skills lead you astray. The consequence of this can be misunderstandings, embarrassment, and sometimes even resentment.
Stress has a significant effect on how we process memory. When we’re stressed out, we’re spending brain resources that we should be using for memory.
And something new starts to take place as hearing loss progresses.
You can begin to “feel older” than you 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 become 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. We humans are social creatures. Even people who are introverted have difficulty when they’re never with other people.
A person with untreated hearing loss gradually becomes secluded. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. You need people to repeat themselves at social gatherings making them a lot less enjoyable. 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 zone out and feel alone. The radio might not even be there to keep you company after a while.
Being on your own just seems simpler. You feel like you can’t relate to your friends now because you feel older than them even though you’re not.
This regular lack of mental stimulus makes it more difficult for the brain to process new information.
As somebody who is coping with neglected hearing loss begins to seclude themselves either physically or just mentally, a chain reaction initiates in the brain. Regions of the brain aren’t being stimulated anymore. When this takes place, those parts of the brain atrophy and quit functioning.
Our brain functions are extremely interconnected. Hearing is connected with speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other skills.
This loss of function in one area of the brain can slowly move to other brain functions like hearing. Memory loss is connected to this process.
It’s similar to how the legs become atrophied when somebody is bedridden for an extended time. Muscles get weak when they’re sick in bed over a long time period of time. They may possibly just stop working completely. Learning to walk again could call for physical therapy.
But with the brain, this damage is a great deal more difficult to rehabilitate. Shrinkage actually happens to the brain. Brain Scans show this shrinkage.
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. It may be barely noticeable. 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 that have hearing loss who regularly wear their hearing aid have the same chance of developing memory loss as someone of the same age with healthy hearing. People who began wearing hearing aids after symptoms began were able to delay the progression substantially.
As you age, try to stay connected and active. If you want to keep your memory intact you need to understand that it’s closely related to hearing loss. Don’t dismiss your hearing health. Schedule a hearing test. And if there’s any reason you’re not using your hearing aid, please speak with us about treatment options – we can help!