Are you forgetting something? It’s not your imagination. It really is becoming more difficult to remember things in everyday life. Memory loss seems to progress rather quickly once it’s detected. It becomes more debilitating the more aware of it you become. Most people aren’t aware that there’s a connection between memory loss and hearing loss.
And no, this isn’t just a normal part of aging. Losing the ability to process memories always has an underlying reason.
Ignored hearing loss is often that reason. Is your memory being affected by hearing loss? By identifying the cause of your loss of memory, you can take steps to slow down its advancement considerably and, in many cases, bring your memory back.
Here are a few facts to consider.
How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss
They aren’t unrelated. In fact, researchers have found that those who have neglected hearing loss are 24% more likely to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other profound cognitive problems.
There are complicated interrelated reasons for this.
At first, hearing loss causes the brain to work extra hard. Listening to things demands additional effort. Now, your brain has to work hard where in the past it just happened naturally.
It becomes necessary to activate deductive reasoning. You try to figure out what people probably said by eliminating unlikely possibilities.
This puts lots of extra stress on the brain. It’s particularly stressful when your deductive reasoning abilities let you down. This can cause embarrassment, misunderstandings, and even resentment.
How we process memory can be significantly impacted by stress. When we’re stressed, we’re tying up brain resources that we should be utilizing for memory.
And something new begins to occur as hearing loss progresses.
This stress of having to work harder to hear and needing people to repeat what they said makes a person “feel older” than they actually are. If you’re always thinking that you’re getting old, it can come to be 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. When they’re never with other people, even introverts struggle.
Neglected hearing loss slowly isolates a person. It’s harder to have phone conversations. You need to have people repeat themselves at social gatherings making them much less enjoyable. Family and friends begin to exclude you from discussions. You may be off in space feeling secluded even when you’re in a room full of people. The radio might not even be there to keep you company over time.
Being alone just seems easier. You feel older than others your age and don’t feel that you can relate to them now.
This frequent lack of mental stimulation makes it more difficult for the brain to process new information.
As someone who is coping with neglected hearing loss begins to seclude themselves either physically or just mentally, a chain reaction commences in the brain. Parts of the brain are no longer being stimulated. They quit functioning.
Our brain functions are very coordinated. Abilities like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all related to hearing.
There will normally be a gradual spread of this functional atrophy to other brain activity, like hearing, which is also linked to memory.
It’s analogous to how the legs become atrophied when a person is bedridden for a long time. Muscles get weak when they’re sick in bed over a period of time. They may possibly just quit working completely. Learning to walk again may require physical therapy.
But the brain is different. Once it starts down this slippery slope, it’s difficult to reverse the damage. Shrinkage actually happens to the brain. Brain Scans reveal this shrinkage.
How memory loss can be stopped by hearing aids
If you’re reading this, then you’re still in the beginning stages of memory loss. You may not even hardly notice it. It isn’t 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 these studies, individuals who were using their hearing aids on a regular basis were no more likely to have memory loss than somebody of a similar age who doesn’t have hearing loss. The advancement of memory loss was delayed in individuals who started using their hearing aids after experiencing symptoms.
As you get older, try to remain connected and active. Keep your memories, memory loss is connected to hearing loss. Pay attention to the health of your hearing. Have your hearing evaluated. And if there’s any reason you’re not wearing your hearing aid, please talk to us about solutions – we can help!