Feel like you may be forgetting something crucial? It’s not your imagination. It really is becoming more difficult to remember things in everyday life. Loss of memory seems to advance fairly quickly once it’s noticed. The more you are aware of it, the more debilitating it is. Did you know memory loss is connected to hearing loss?
If you think that this is simply a normal part of the aging process, you would be wrong. There’s always a root cause for the loss of the ability to process memories.
For many that cause is untreated hearing loss. Is your memory being affected by hearing loss? By knowing the cause of your memory loss, you can take steps to slow its advancement significantly and, in many cases, bring back your memory.
Here’s what you should know.
How untreated hearing loss can lead to memory loss
There is a link. Cognitive issues, including Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in individuals who have hearing loss.
There are complicated interrelated reasons for this.
At first, hearing loss causes the brain to over-work. Listening to things demands additional effort. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your mind has to strain to process.
It becomes necessary to activate deductive reasoning. You attempt to determine what people probably said by removing unlikely possibilities.
This puts lots of additional stress on the brain. It’s particularly stressful when your deductive reasoning abilities lead you astray. This can cause embarrassment, misconceptions, and even resentment.
How we process memory can be significantly affected by stress. Mental resources that we should be using for memory get tied up when we’re experiencing stress.
As the hearing loss progresses, something new occurs.
This strain 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 still young become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We’ve all heard the trope of the person who’s so lonely that they begin to lose touch with reality. We humans are social creatures. Even introverts have difficulty when they’re never around others.
A person with neglected hearing loss gradually becomes isolated. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. Social gatherings are less enjoyable because you need to ask people to repeat themselves. Friends and family start to exclude you from conversations. Even when you’re in a room with a lot of people, you might zone out and feel alone. The radio may not even be there to keep you company over time.
Being on your own just seems simpler. You feel as if you can’t relate to your friends anymore because you feel older than them even though you’re not.
This frequent lack of mental stimulus makes it more difficult for the brain to process new information.
A chain reaction commences in the brain when a person begins to physically or mentally seclude themselves. Regions of the brain aren’t being stimulated anymore. When this occurs, those parts of the brain atrophy and quit functioning.
Our brain functions are very interconnected. Hearing is connected with speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other skills.
There will usually be a slow spread of this functional atrophy to other brain activity, like hearing, which is also connected to memory.
It’s just like the legs of a bedridden person. Muscles get weak when they’re sick in bed over a long time period of time. They could quit working altogether. They might have to get physical therapy to learn to walk again.
But with the brain, this damage is a great deal more difficult to rehabilitate. Shrinkage actually happens to the brain. Brain Scans reveal this shrinkage.
How a hearing aid can stop memory loss
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably still in the beginning stages of memory loss. It might be hardly noticeable. It’s not the hearing loss itself that is leading to memory loss, and that’s the good news.
It’s the fact that the hearing loss is neglected.
In this research, people who were wearing their hearing aids regularly were no more likely to have memory loss than somebody of a similar age who doesn’t have hearing loss. The progression of memory loss was delayed in people who began using their hearing aids after experiencing symptoms.
As you get older, try to remain connected and active. Keep your memories, memory loss is linked to hearing loss. Pay attention to the health of your hearing. Get your hearing evaluated. And get in touch with us about a solution if you’re not wearing your hearing aid for some reason.