Feel like you might be forgetting something crucial? It’s not your imagination. It really is becoming harder to remember things in daily life. Loss of memory seems to progress fairly quickly once it’s noticed. The more you are aware of it, the more debilitating it is. The majority of people aren’t aware that there’s a connection between memory loss and 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 that cause is neglected hearing loss. Is your hearing impacting your ability to remember? By discovering the cause of your loss of memory, you can take measures to slow down its progression considerably and, in many cases, bring back your memory.
Here’s what you need to know.
How neglected hearing loss can result in memory loss
There is a relationship. As a matter of fact, scientists have found that individuals with neglected hearing loss are 24% more likely to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other severe cognitive issues.
The reasons for this increased risk are multi-fold.
At first, hearing loss causes the brain to work extra hard. You have to make an effort to hear things. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your mind has to work to process.
It becomes necessary to activate deductive reasoning. You attempt to determine what people most likely said by removing unlikely possibilities.
This puts a lot of extra stress on the brain. It’s especially stressful when your deductive reasoning skills lead you astray. The consequence of this can be misunderstandings, embarrassment, and sometimes even resentment.
How we process memory can be significantly impacted by stress. Mental resources that we should be utilizing for memory get tied up when we’re dealing with stress.
And something new begins to happen as hearing loss progresses.
You can begin to “feel older” than you actually are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat themselves and struggling to hear. If you’re constantly 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 created to be social. When they’re never with other people, even introverts struggle.
Neglected hearing loss slowly isolates a person. It’s harder to talk on the phone. You need to have people repeat themselves at social events making them much less pleasant. Friends and family begin to exclude you from discussions. You might be off in space feeling isolated even when you’re in a room full of people. The radio might not even be there to keep you company after a while.
Being on your own just seems easier. You feel as if you can’t relate to your friends now because you feel older than them even though you’re not.
When your brain isn’t regularly stimulated it becomes difficult to process new information.
A chain reaction commences in the brain when somebody starts to physically or mentally isolate themselves. Parts of the brain aren’t being stimulated anymore. When this occurs, those regions of the brain atrophy and stop functioning.
Our brain functions are extremely coordinated. Abilities like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all related to hearing.
This lack of function in one region of the brain can gradually move to other brain functions like hearing. Memory loss 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 may quit working altogether. Learning to walk again could require physical therapy.
But when it comes to the brain, this damage is much more difficult to rehabilitate. The brain actually starts to shrink. Brain Scans show this shrinkage.
How memory loss can be prevented by hearing aids
You’re likely still in the early stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. You may not even hardly notice 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.
In this research, individuals who were wearing their hearing aids regularly were no more likely to have memory loss than a person around the same age who doesn’t have hearing loss. Those who started using hearing aids after symptoms began were able to delay the progression substantially.
Stay connected and active as you age. Keep your memories, memory loss is connected to hearing loss. Don’t dismiss your hearing health. Schedule a hearing exam. And if there’s any reason you aren’t wearing your hearing aid, please talk to us about solutions – we can help!