Are you forgetting something? It’s not your imagination. It really is becoming harder to remember things in everyday life. Once you notice it, loss of memory seems to advance quickly. The more aware you are of it, the more debilitating it is. Did you know memory loss is connected to hearing loss?
And no, this isn’t simply a natural part of getting older. There’s always a root cause for the loss of the ability to process memories.
Ignored hearing loss is often that reason. Is your hearing impacting your memory? By discovering the cause of your loss of memory, you can take steps to delay its advancement significantly and, in many instances, bring back your memory.
Here are some facts to consider.
How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss
They’re not unrelated. Cognitive problems, including Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in people who suffer from hearing loss.
There are complex interrelated reasons for this.
Initially, the brain will have to work harder to overcome hearing loss. Listening to things demands extra effort. Now, your brain has to work extra hard where before it just occurred naturally.
It becomes necessary to utilize deductive reasoning. When trying to hear, you remove the unlikely possibilities to determine what someone most likely said.
Your brain is under additional strain as a result. And when you can’t accurately use those deductive reasoning skills it can be very stressful. This can result in embarrassment, misunderstandings, and even bitterness.
Stress has a significant effect on how we process memory. When we’re stressed, we’re spending brain resources that we should be utilizing for memory.
As the hearing loss advances, something new takes place.
This stress of having to work harder to hear and asking people to repeat what they said makes a person “feel older” than they actually are. This can begin a downhill spiral in which ideas of “getting old” when you’re actually not become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We’ve all heard the trope of someone who’s so lonely that they start to lose touch with reality. Humans are social creatures. Even people who are introverted struggle when they’re never with other people.
A person with disregarded hearing loss slowly 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. Friends and family begin to exclude you from conversations. Even when you’re in a room with lots of people, you may space out and feel alone. 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 like you can relate to them anymore.
When your brain isn’t frequently stimulated it becomes difficult to process new information.
As someone who is coping with neglected hearing loss starts to seclude themselves either physically or just mentally, a chain reaction starts in the brain. Parts of the brain aren’t being stimulated anymore. When this occurs, those regions of the brain atrophy and quit working.
Our brain functions are extremely interconnected. Hearing is linked to speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other skills.
This lack of function in one region of the brain can slowly spread to other brain functions including hearing. Loss of memory is linked to this process.
It’s just like the legs of a bedridden person. When they’re sick in bed for an extended time, leg muscles become really weak. They may quit working altogether. They might have to get physical therapy to learn to walk again.
But the brain is different. Once it starts down this slippery slope, it’s hard to undo the damage. The brain actually begins to shrink. Brain Scans show this shrinkage.
How memory loss can be prevented by hearing aids
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably still in the early stages of memory loss. You might not even barely be aware of it. It’s not the hearing loss itself that is leading to memory loss, and that’s the good news.
It’s untreated hearing loss.
Studies have revealed that people that have hearing loss who regularly wear their hearing aid have the same risk of developing memory loss as somebody of the same age with healthy hearing. Individuals who started wearing hearing aids after symptoms began were able to delay the progression considerably.
As you age, try to stay connected and active. Keep your memories, memory loss is linked to hearing loss. Don’t ignore your hearing health. Schedule a hearing exam. And if there’s any reason you’re not wearing your hearing aid, please talk to us about solutions – we can help!