Feel like you might be forgetting something crucial? You’re not imagining it. Remembering day-to-day things is becoming harder and harder. Loss of memory seems to develop fairly quickly once it’s detected. The more you are aware of it, the more incapacitating it becomes. The majority of people don’t realize that there’s a link between memory loss and loss of hearing.
If you believe that this is just a natural part of getting older, you would be wrong. There’s always a root cause for the loss of the ability to process memories.
Ignored hearing loss is frequently that reason. Is your ability to remember being affected by hearing loss? By identifying the cause of your memory loss, you can take measures to slow its advancement substantially and, in many instances, bring your memory back.
Here are some facts to consider.
How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss
They’re not unrelated. In fact, researchers have found that those who have untreated hearing loss are 24% more likely to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other severe cognitive issues.
There are complicated interrelated reasons for this.
At first, hearing loss causes the brain to over-work. You have to struggle to listen to something. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your mind needs to strain to process.
You begin to use your deductive reasoning abilities. You attempt to figure out what people probably said by eliminating unlikely possibilities.
This puts a lot of additional stress on the brain. It’s particularly stressful when your deductive reasoning abilities lead you astray. The outcome of this can be misconceptions, embarrassment, and sometimes even bitterness.
Stress has a huge impact on how we process memory. Mental resources that we should be using for memory get tied up when we’re experiencing stress.
As the hearing loss progresses, something new takes place.
This strain of having to work overtime 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 thoughts of “getting old” when you’re actually not become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We’ve all heard the trope of the person who’s so lonely that they start to lose touch with reality. Human beings are meant to be social. Even people who are introverted have difficulty when they’re never with others.
A person with untreated hearing loss gradually becomes isolated. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. Social gatherings are less enjoyable because you have to ask people to repeat what they said. Friends and family begin to exclude you from conversations. Even when you’re in a room with lots of people, you may zone out and feel alone. In the long run, you may not even have the radio to keep you company.
Being on your own just seems simpler. You feel like you can’t relate to your friends now because you feel older than them even though you’re not.
This regular lack of mental stimulus makes it more difficult for the brain to process new information.
A chain reaction commences in the brain when somebody begins to physically or mentally isolate themselves. Parts of the brain are no longer being stimulated. They quit functioning.
Our brain functions are very interconnected. Skills like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all connected to hearing.
There will usually be a gradual spread of this functional atrophy to other brain functions, like hearing, which is also connected to memory.
It’s similar to how the legs become atrophied when someone is bedridden for an extended time. Muscles become weak when they’re sick in bed over a long time period of time. They could quit working altogether. They may have to have physical therapy to learn to walk again.
But with the brain, this damage is much more challenging to rehabilitate. Shrinkage actually happens to the brain. Doctors can observe this on brain scans.
How memory loss can be prevented by hearing aids
You’re likely still in the beginning stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. You may not even barely be aware of 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.
Studies have revealed that people with hearing loss who regularly wear their hearing aid have the same risk of developing memory loss as someone of the same age with healthy hearing. Individuals who began using hearing aids after symptoms began were able to delay the progression substantially.
As you age, try to stay connected and active. If you want to keep your memory intact you should understand that it’s closely linked to hearing loss. Be mindful of the health of your hearing. Get your hearing evaluated. And if there’s any reason you aren’t using your hearing aid, please consult us about solutions – we can help!