Are you forgetting something? It’s not your imagination. It really is getting harder to remember things in everyday life. Memory loss seems to advance fairly quickly once it’s detected. It becomes more debilitating the more you become aware of it. The majority of people don’t realize that there’s a connection between loss of memory and loss of hearing.
If you believe that this is simply a natural part of the aging process, you would be wrong. 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 affected by hearing loss? By determining the cause of your loss of memory, you can take steps to delay its advancement substantially and, in many instances, bring back your memory.
This is what you need to know.
How untreated hearing loss can contribute to memory loss
There is a connection. Cognitive issues, including Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in people who suffer from hearing loss.
There are complicated interrelated reasons for this.
Initially, the brain will have to work harder to overcome hearing loss. You have to struggle to listen to something. Now, your brain needs to work extra hard where in the past it just occurred naturally.
You start to use your deductive reasoning skills. You attempt to figure out what people probably said by removing unlikely possibilities.
Your brain is under additional strain because of this. And when you’re unable to accurately use those deductive reasoning skills it can be especially stressful. The outcome of this can be misconceptions, embarrassment, and sometimes even bitterness.
Stress has a significant impact on how we process memory. Mental resources that we should be using for memory get tied up when we’re suffering from stress.
As the hearing loss progresses, something new occurs.
This stress of having to work overtime to hear and asking people to repeat what they said makes a person “feel older” than they are. 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. Human beings are meant to be social. Even people who are introverted struggle when they’re never around other people.
A person with disregarded hearing loss slowly becomes isolated. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. You need to have people repeat what they said at social events making them much less enjoyable. Family and friends start to exclude you from discussions. Even when you’re in a room with lots of people, you might space out and feel secluded. In the long run, you might not even have the radio to keep you company.
Being alone just seems easier. 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.
As somebody who is coping with neglected hearing loss begins to seclude themselves either physically or just mentally, a chain reaction commences in the brain. There’s no more stimulation reaching regions of the brain. They quit working.
There’s a high degree of interconnectivity between the different regions of the brain. Hearing is connected with speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other abilities.
This loss of function in one area of the brain can gradually move 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 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 goes down this slippery slope, it’s difficult to reverse the damage. The brain actually begins 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. It may be hardly noticeable. The great news is that it isn’t the hearing loss that contributes to memory loss.
It’s neglected hearing loss.
In these studies, people who were wearing their hearing aids on a regular basis were no more likely to have memory loss than somebody around the same age who doesn’t have hearing loss. Individuals who began wearing hearing aids after symptoms began were able to delay the progression significantly.
As you age, try to remain connected and active. Keep your memories, memory loss is connected to hearing loss. Don’t disregard your hearing health. Schedule a hearing exam. And if there’s any reason you’re not using your hearing aid, please talk to us about solutions – we can help!