Senior couple suffering from hearing loss standing in front of a pink backdrop trying to remember something.

Feel like you might be forgetting something important? It’s not your imagination. Remembering day-to-day things is becoming harder and harder. Once you notice it, loss of memory seems to advance quickly. The more aware you are of it, the more debilitating it is. Did you know memory loss is linked to hearing loss?

And no, this isn’t just a natural part of getting older. There’s always an underlying reason for the loss of the ability to process memories.

For many that cause is untreated hearing loss. Is your hearing impacting your memory? By discovering the cause of your loss of memory, you can take measures to delay its advancement substantially and, in many cases, bring back your memory.

Here are some facts to consider.

How neglected hearing loss can result in memory loss

They aren’t unrelated. Cognitive problems, like Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in people who have hearing loss.
The reasons for this higher risk are multi-fold.

Mental fatigue

Initially, the brain will need to work harder to compensate for hearing loss. 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.

It becomes necessary to utilize deductive reasoning. You attempt to determine what people probably said by removing unlikely possibilities.

Your brain is under additional strain because of this. It’s especially stressful when your deductive reasoning skills 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. When we’re stressed out, we’re tying up brain resources that we should be using for memory.

And something new begins to happen as hearing loss advances.

Feeling older

This stress of having to work harder to hear and needing people to repeat themselves makes a person “feel older” than they are. This can start a downhill spiral in which ideas of “getting old” when you’re still young become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Social withdrawal

We’ve all heard the trope of someone who’s so lonely that they start to lose touch with reality. Humans are social creatures. Even people who are introverted have difficulty when they’re never with other people.

Untreated hearing loss slowly isolates a person. It’s more difficult to have phone conversations. Social get-togethers are not so enjoyable because you have to ask people to repeat themselves. You start to be excluded from conversations by friends and family. You might be off in space feeling secluded even when you’re with a room full of people. The radio might not even be there to keep you company over time.

It’s just easier to spend more time by yourself. You feel like 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 hard to process new information.

Brain atrophy

A chain reaction commences in the brain when a person starts to physically or mentally seclude themselves. There’s no more stimulation going to parts of the brain. They stop functioning.

There’s a high degree of interconnectivity between the various parts of the brain. Hearing is connected with speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other abilities.

There will usually be a slow 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 somebody is bedridden for an extended time. Muscles get weak when they’re sick in bed over a period of time. They may possibly just stop working completely. Learning to walk again might call for physical therapy.

But when it comes to the brain, this damage is a lot more difficult to rehabilitate. The brain actually begins to shrink. Doctors can observe this on brain scans.

How a hearing aid can prevent memory loss

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably still in the early stages of memory loss. It might be hardly noticeable. 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.

Research has shown that individuals with hearing loss who regularly use their hearing aid have the same chance of developing memory loss as someone of the same age with healthy hearing. The progression of memory loss was slowed in people who began wearing their hearing aids after experiencing symptoms.

Stay connected and active as you age. Keep your memories, memory loss is connected to hearing loss. Be mindful of the health of your hearing. Schedule a hearing exam. And consult us about a solution if you’re not wearing your hearing aid for some reason.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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