Feel like you may be forgetting something crucial? You aren’t imagining it. It really is becoming more difficult to remember things in everyday life. Once you become aware of it, loss of memory seems to develop quickly. The more you are aware of it, the more incapacitating it becomes. Did you know memory loss is connected to hearing loss?
And no, this isn’t simply a normal part of aging. Losing the ability to process memories always has a root cause.
Disregarded hearing loss is often that reason. Is your ability to remember being impacted by hearing loss? You can delay the development of memory loss significantly and possibly even get some back if you are aware of the cause.
This is what you should know.
How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss
There is a relationship. In fact, scientists have found that people who have neglected hearing loss are 24% more likely to experience dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other extreme cognitive problems.
There are complex interrelated reasons for this.
Initially, the brain will have to work harder to compensate for hearing loss. Listening to things requires added effort. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your brain has to strain to process.
You start to use your deductive reasoning skills. When trying to hear, you eliminate the unlikely choices to figure out what someone most likely said.
Your brain is under additional strain as a result. It’s especially stressful when your deductive reasoning abilities lead you astray. The consequence of this can be misunderstandings, embarrassment, and sometimes even resentment.
Stress has a major effect 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 starts to take place as hearing loss worsens.
You can start to “feel older” than you are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat what they said and struggling to hear. This can start 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. Human beings are created to be social. Even introverts struggle when they’re never with others.
A person with neglected 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 start to exclude you from conversations. You might be off in space feeling secluded even when you’re in a room full of people. In the long run, you might not even have the radio to keep you company.
It’s just easier to spend more time alone. You feel older than others your age and don’t feel like you can relate to them now.
When your brain isn’t frequently stimulated it becomes difficult to process new information.
As somebody who is coping with untreated hearing loss starts to isolate themselves either physically or even mentally, a chain reaction commences in the brain. There’s no more stimulation reaching regions of the brain. They quit working.
Our brain functions are very interconnected. Abilities like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all connected to hearing.
This lack 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 analogous to how the legs become atrophied when somebody is bedridden for a long time. Muscles become weak when they’re sick in bed over a long time period of time. They may possibly just stop working completely. Learning to walk again might require physical therapy.
But the brain is different. Once it goes down this slippery slope, it’s hard to undo the damage. The brain actually begins to shrink. Doctors can observe this on brain scans.
How a hearing aid can prevent memory loss
You’re most likely still in the early stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. You may not even hardly notice it. The good news is that it’s not the hearing loss that leads to memory loss.
It’s untreated hearing loss.
Research has revealed that people with hearing loss who regularly use their hearing aid have the same risk of developing memory loss as someone of the same age with healthy hearing. The advancement of memory loss was delayed in people who began wearing their hearing aids after noticing symptoms.
Stay connected and active as you get older. If you want to keep your memory intact you should understand that it’s closely related to hearing loss. Don’t dismiss your hearing health. Get your hearing evaluated. And consult us about a solution if you’re not using your hearing aid for some reason.