Are you forgetting something? You’re not imagining it. Remembering day-to-day things is becoming more and more difficult. Once you become aware of it, memory loss seems to progress quickly. It becomes more incapacitating the more you become aware of it. The majority of people don’t realize that there’s a link between memory loss and hearing loss.
If you think that this is just a natural part of the aging process, you would be wrong. There’s always an underlying reason for the loss of the ability to process memories.
For many that cause is neglected hearing loss. Is your ability to remember being affected by hearing loss? By identifying the cause of your loss of memory, you can take steps to delay its development substantially and, in many cases, bring back your memory.
Here are some facts to think about.
How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss
They aren’t unrelated. Cognitive problems, like Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in individuals who have hearing loss.
There are complicated interrelated reasons for this.
Initially, the brain will have to work overtime to overcome hearing loss. You have to strain to hear things. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your mind has to strain to process.
You start to use your deductive reasoning abilities. When trying to hear, you eliminate the unlikely choices to figure out what someone probably said.
This puts a lot of extra strain on the brain. And when you’re unable to accurately use those deductive reasoning skills it can be really stressful. The outcome of this can be misconceptions, embarrassment, and sometimes even bitterness.
How we process memory can be significantly impacted by stress. When we’re stressed out, we’re tying up brain resources that we should be using for memory.
And something new starts to occur as hearing loss progresses.
You can begin to “feel older” than you are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat what they said and straining to hear. This can start 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 someone who’s so lonely that they begin to lose touch with reality. Human beings are created to be social. Even introverts have difficulty when they’re never with other people.
Neglected hearing loss slowly isolates a person. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. You need to have people repeat themselves at social functions making them a lot less enjoyable. You start to be excluded from conversations by friends and family. You might be off in space feeling secluded even when you’re in a room full of people. 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 as if you can’t relate to your friends anymore because you feel older than them even though you’re not.
When your brain isn’t regularly stimulated it becomes difficult to process new information.
As a person with neglected hearing loss begins to isolate themselves either physically or just mentally, a chain reaction starts in the brain. There’s no more stimulation reaching regions of the brain. They stop functioning.
There’s a high level of interconnectivity between the various regions of the brain. 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 functions, like hearing, which is also linked to memory.
It’s similar to how the legs become atrophied when a person is bedridden for an extended period of time. When they’re sick in bed for an extended time, leg muscles become really weak. They could stop working entirely. They may have to have physical therapy to learn to walk again.
But with the brain, this damage is a lot more challenging to rehabilitate. The brain actually begins 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. It may be barely noticeable. The good news is that it’s not the hearing loss that contributes to memory loss.
It’s the fact that the hearing loss is untreated.
In these studies, individuals who were wearing their hearing aids on a regular basis were no more likely to have memory loss than someone around the same age who has healthy hearing. The progression of memory loss was delayed in individuals who began using their hearing aids after experiencing symptoms.
As you get older, try to stay connected and active. If you want to keep your memory intact you need to recognize that it’s closely related to hearing loss. Pay attention to the health of your hearing. Schedule a hearing test. And if there’s any reason you’re not wearing your hearing aid, please consult us about treatment options – we can help!