Feel like you may be forgetting something important? It isn’t your imagination. Remembering everyday things is becoming more and more difficult. Memory loss seems to progress rather quickly once it’s detected. It becomes more incapacitating the more aware of it you become. Did you know memory loss is linked to hearing loss?
If you believe that this is simply a normal part of getting older, you would be wrong. Losing the ability to process memories always has an underlying reason.
For many that cause is untreated hearing loss. Is your hearing affecting your ability to remember? By discovering the cause of your loss of memory, you can take steps to slow down its development considerably and, in many instances, bring your memory back.
Here are a few facts to consider.
How untreated hearing loss can result in memory loss
They aren’t unrelated. As a matter of fact, researchers have found that individuals who have untreated hearing loss are 24% more likely to experience dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other profound cognitive issues.
The reasons for this increased risk are multi-fold.
Initially, the brain will need to work harder to overcome hearing loss. You have to struggle to hear things. While this came naturally before, it’s now something your mind has to strain to process.
It becomes necessary to activate deductive reasoning. When trying to listen, you remove the unlikely choices to determine what someone most likely said.
Your brain is under extra strain because of this. It’s particularly stressful when your deductive reasoning skills lead you astray. The consequence of this can be misconceptions, embarrassment, and sometimes even bitterness.
Stress has a major impact 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 take place as hearing loss advances.
This stress of having to work overtime to hear and needing people to repeat what they said makes a person “feel older” than they are. If you’re constantly thinking that you’re getting old, it can become a self fulfilling prophecy.
We’re all familiar with that story of someone whose loneliness causes them to lose touch with the world around them. Human beings are created to be social. Even people who are introverted struggle when they’re never with other people.
Neglected hearing loss slowly isolates a person. It’s more difficult to have phone conversations. You need to have people repeat themselves at social functions making them a lot less pleasant. You start to be excluded from conversations by friends and family. Even when you’re in a setting with a lot of people, you might space out and feel alone. The radio might not even be there to keep you company over time.
It’s just better to spend more time by yourself. You feel older than people your age and don’t feel like you can relate to them now.
When your brain isn’t regularly stimulated it becomes hard to process new information.
As a person who is coping with neglected hearing loss begins to seclude themselves either physically or just mentally, a chain reaction initiates in the brain. There’s no more stimulation going to regions of the brain. They 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 linked to this process.
It’s just like the legs of a bedridden person. Muscles become weak when they’re sick in bed over a long time period of time. They could quit working entirely. They may 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. Shrinkage actually happens to the brain. Brain Scans reveal 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 might be barely noticeable. The great news is that it’s not the hearing loss that leads to memory loss.
It’s neglected hearing loss.
In this research, individuals who were using their hearing aids regularly were no more likely to have memory loss than a person of a similar age who doesn’t have hearing loss. People who began wearing hearing aids after symptoms appeared were able to slow the progression considerably.
As you age, try to stay connected and active. Keep your memories, memory loss is connected to hearing loss. Pay attention to the health of your hearing. Schedule a hearing exam. And if there’s any reason you aren’t using your hearing aid, please talk to us about solutions – we can help!