Are you forgetting something? It isn’t your imagination. Remembering everyday things is getting more and more difficult. Once you become aware of it, memory loss seems to advance quickly. The more aware you are of it, the more debilitating it is. Did you know memory loss is linked to hearing loss?
If you believe that this is just a normal part of getting older, you would be wrong. There’s always a root cause 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? By identifying the cause of your memory loss, you can take measures to delay its advancement significantly and, in many cases, bring your memory back.
Here are a few facts to think about.
How untreated hearing loss can lead to memory loss
They’re not unrelated. Cognitive problems, such as Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in people who have hearing loss.
There are complex interrelated reasons for this.
To begin with, hearing loss causes the brain to work extra hard. You have to strain to hear things. Now, your brain has to work extra hard where before it just happened naturally.
You start to use your deductive reasoning abilities. When trying to hear, you eliminate the unlikely possibilities to determine what someone most likely said.
This puts a lot of extra stress on the brain. 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 resentment.
Stress has a major impact on how we process memory. Mental resources that we should be using for memory get tied up when we’re dealing with stress.
And something new begins to happen as hearing loss advances.
This strain of having to work overtime to hear and needing people to repeat themselves makes a person “feel older” than they actually are. If you’re constantly thinking that you’re getting old, it can come to be a self fulfilling prophecy.
We’re all familiar with that narrative of someone whose loneliness causes them to lose touch with the world around them. We humans are social creatures. Even introverts struggle when they’re never with other people.
A person with neglected hearing loss slowly becomes isolated. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. Social get-togethers are not so enjoyable because you need to ask people to repeat themselves. You begin to be excluded from conversations by family and friends. You might be off in space feeling separated even when you’re with a room full of people. The radio may not even be there to keep you company over time.
Being on your own just seems simpler. You feel older than people your age and don’t feel that you can relate to them now.
When your brain isn’t regularly stimulated it becomes hard to process new information.
As somebody with untreated hearing loss begins to seclude themselves either physically or even mentally, a chain reaction starts in the brain. Parts of the brain are no longer being stimulated. They stop working.
There’s a high level of interconnectivity between the different parts of the brain. Abilities like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all connected to hearing.
This lack of function in one region of the brain can slowly move 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 a long time, leg muscles get really weak. They may possibly just quit working completely. They might have to get physical therapy to learn to walk again.
But the brain is different. Once it goes down this slippery slope, it’s hard to undo the damage. Shrinkage actually happens to the brain. Brain Scans demonstrate 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 hardly noticeable. The great news is that it’s not the hearing loss that contributes to memory loss.
It’s untreated hearing loss.
In this research, individuals who were wearing their hearing aids on a regular basis were no more likely to have memory loss than someone around the same age who has healthy hearing. People who began wearing hearing aids after symptoms began were able to delay the progression considerably.
Stay connected and active as you age. Keep your memories, memory loss is connected to hearing loss. Pay attention to the health of your hearing. Get your hearing examined. And consult us about a solution if you’re not using your hearing aid for some reason.