Feel like you may be forgetting something important? It isn’t your imagination. Remembering day-to-day things is becoming more and more difficult. Memory loss seems to progress fairly quickly once it’s noticed. It becomes more incapacitating the more you become aware of it. 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 an underlying reason for the loss of the ability to process memories.
Ignored hearing loss is frequently that reason. Is your hearing affecting your ability to remember? By discovering the cause of your memory loss, you can take measures to slow down its development substantially and, in many cases, bring your memory back.
Here are a few facts to think about.
How neglected hearing loss can result in memory loss
They aren’t unrelated. As a matter of fact, scientists have found that individuals with untreated hearing loss are 24% more likely to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other extreme cognitive problems.
There are complicated interrelated reasons for this.
Initially, the brain will have to work overtime to compensate for hearing loss. Listening to things demands additional effort. Now, your brain needs to work hard where in the past it just happened naturally.
It becomes necessary to utilize deductive reasoning. You attempt to determine what people probably said by eliminating unlikely possibilities.
This puts a lot of extra stress on the brain. It’s particularly stressful when your deductive reasoning skills lead you astray. The outcome of this can be misunderstandings, embarrassment, and sometimes even bitterness.
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 suffering from stress.
And something new starts to occur as hearing loss advances.
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 constantly thinking that you’re getting old, it can come to be a self fulfilling prophecy.
We’re all familiar with that narrative of someone whose loneliness causes them to lose their grip on the world around them. We humans are social creatures. When they’re never with other people, even introverts struggle.
Untreated hearing loss slowly isolates a person. It’s more difficult to have phone conversations. Social get-togethers are less enjoyable because you have to ask people to repeat what they said. You begin to be excluded from conversations by friends and family. Even when you’re in a setting with a lot of people, you might space out and feel secluded. The radio may not even be there to keep you company after a while.
It’s just easier to spend more time by yourself. You feel older than others your age and don’t feel that you can relate to them anymore.
This regular lack of mental stimulus makes it harder for the brain to process new information.
As a person with untreated hearing loss starts to seclude themselves either physically or even mentally, a chain reaction commences in the brain. There’s no more stimulation going to regions of the brain. They quit functioning.
There’s a high level of interconnectivity between the different regions of the brain. Abilities like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all connected to hearing.
There will typically be a gradual spread of this functional atrophy to other brain functions, like hearing, which is also linked to memory.
It’s exactly like the legs of a bedridden person. When they are sick in bed for a long time, leg muscles get really weak. They could quit working altogether. They might need to have physical therapy to learn to walk again.
But with the brain, this damage is a great deal more challenging to rehabilitate. The brain actually starts to shrink. Brain Scans show this shrinkage.
How memory loss can be stopped by hearing aids
If you’re reading this, then you’re still in the early stages of memory loss. You may not even barely be aware of it. It’s not the hearing loss itself that is contributing to memory loss, and that’s the good news.
It’s the fact that the hearing loss is untreated.
Studies have revealed that people with hearing loss who regularly wear their hearing aid have the same risk of developing memory loss as somebody of the same age with healthy hearing. Those who began wearing hearing aids after symptoms appeared were able to slow the progression substantially.
As you get older, try to stay connected and active. Keep your memories, memory loss is linked to hearing loss. Be mindful of the health of your hearing. Have your hearing checked. And get in touch with us about a solution if you’re not wearing your hearing aid for some reason.