Are you forgetting something? You’re not imagining it. Remembering day-to-day things is getting harder and harder. Once you notice it, loss of memory seems to progress quickly. It becomes more debilitating the more you become aware of it. The majority of people don’t realize that there’s a link between loss of memory and loss of hearing.
If you believe that this is simply a natural part of getting older, you would be wrong. Losing the ability to process memories always has an underlying reason.
For many that cause is neglected hearing loss. Is your memory being impacted by hearing loss? By discovering the cause of your loss of memory, you can take steps to delay its development significantly and, in many cases, bring back your memory.
Here are a few facts to think about.
How neglected hearing loss can contribute to memory loss
There is a link. As a matter of fact, researchers have found that people with untreated hearing loss are 24% more likely to experience dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other profound cognitive issues.
The reasons for this increased risk are multi-fold.
To begin with, hearing loss causes the brain to over-work. Listening to things demands added effort. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your mind has to work to process.
It becomes necessary to activate deductive reasoning. You attempt to determine what people probably said by removing unlikely choices.
This puts lots of extra stress on the brain. It’s particularly stressful when your deductive reasoning abilities let you down. This can result in embarrassment, misconceptions, and even bitterness.
How we process memory can be seriously impacted by stress. Mental resources that we should be utilizing for memory get tied up when we’re suffering from stress.
And something new begins to occur as hearing loss worsens.
This stress of having to work overtime to hear and needing people to repeat what they said makes a person “feel older” than they are. If you’re always thinking that you’re getting old, it can become a self fulfilling prophecy.
We’ve all heard the trope of the person who’s so lonely that they begin to lose touch with reality. Humans are social creatures. Even people who are introverted have difficulty when they’re never with others.
A person with neglected hearing loss slowly becomes isolated. It’s more difficult to have phone conversations. You need to have people repeat themselves at social events making them a lot less enjoyable. You start to be excluded from conversations by family and friends. You may be off in space feeling separated even when you’re in a room full of people. The radio may not even be there to keep you company over time.
Being alone just seems simpler. You feel like 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 hard to process new information.
A chain reaction starts in the brain when someone begins to physically or mentally isolate themselves. Parts of the brain aren’t being stimulated anymore. When this happens, those regions of the brain atrophy and stop working.
There’s a high degree of interconnectivity between the various parts of the brain. Skills like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all connected to hearing.
This lack of function in one area of the brain can gradually move to other brain functions like hearing. Memory loss is connected to this process.
It’s just like the legs of a person who is bedridden. Muscles become weak when they’re sick in bed over a long time period of time. They may quit working entirely. Learning to walk again could require physical therapy.
But with the brain, this damage is a lot more challenging to rehabilitate. The brain actually starts to shrink. Brain Scans reveal this shrinkage.
How a hearing aid can prevent memory loss
If you’re reading this, then you’re still in the beginning stages of memory loss. It may be hardly noticeable. The great news is that it’s not the hearing loss that contributes to memory loss.
It’s neglected hearing loss.
Research has shown that individuals with hearing loss who regularly wear their hearing aid have the same chance of developing memory loss as someone of the same age with healthy hearing. The advancement of memory loss was delayed in individuals who started wearing their hearing aids after noticing symptoms.
Stay connected and active as you get older. If you want to keep your memory intact you need to recognize that it’s closely linked to hearing loss. Don’t disregard your hearing health. Schedule a hearing test. And get in touch with us about a solution if you’re not wearing your hearing aid for some reason.