Forgetting Important Information? This Might be Why

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

Are you forgetting something? You’re not imagining it. Remembering day-to-day things is getting more and more difficult. Once you notice it, loss of memory seems to develop quickly. The more aware you are of it, the more incapacitating it is. Most people don’t realize that there’s a link between loss of memory and hearing loss.

If you think that this is simply a natural part of getting older, you would be wrong. There’s always a root cause for the loss of the ability to process memories.

For many individuals that cause is neglected hearing loss. Is your hearing affecting your memory? You can slow the development of memory loss significantly and possibly even get some back if you know the cause.

Here’s what you need to know.

How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss

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

Mental exhaustion

Initially, the brain will need to work overtime to compensate for hearing loss. Listening to things demands extra effort. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your brain needs to strain to process.

It becomes necessary to utilize deductive reasoning. You try to figure out what people probably said by eliminating unlikely possibilities.

Your brain is under additional strain as a result. And when you’re unable to accurately use those deductive reasoning skills it can be particularly stressful. This can cause embarrassment, misconceptions, and 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.

As the hearing loss worsens, something new occurs.

Feeling older

You can begin to “feel older” than you are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat themselves and struggling to hear. This can start a downhill spiral in which ideas of “getting old” when you’re still young become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Social solitude

We’ve all heard the trope of someone who’s so lonely that they start to lose touch with reality. Human beings are meant to be social. When they’re never with others, even introverts have a hard time.

Neglected hearing loss slowly isolates a person. It’s harder to talk on the phone. Social gatherings are not so enjoyable because you have to ask people to repeat what they said. Friends and family start to exclude you from discussions. Even when you’re in a setting with a lot of people, you may zone out and feel secluded. Eventually, you might not even have the radio to keep you company.

Being on your own just seems easier. You feel older than people your age and don’t feel that you can relate to them anymore.

This regular lack of mental stimulation makes it more difficult for the brain to process new information.

Brain atrophy

As a person with untreated hearing loss starts to seclude themselves either physically or even mentally, a chain reaction initiates in the brain. There’s no more stimulation going to parts of the brain. When this takes place, those parts of the brain atrophy and stop working.

Our brain functions are very coordinated. Skills like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all connected to hearing.

This loss of function in one area of the brain can gradually move to other brain functions including hearing. Loss of memory is linked to this process.

It’s just like the legs of a bedridden person. Muscles get weak when they’re sick in bed over a period of time. They could possibly just quit working completely. They may need to have physical therapy to learn to walk again.

But the brain is different. Once it starts down this slippery slope, it’s difficult to undo the damage. Shrinkage actually happens to the brain. Brain Scans show this shrinkage.

How a hearing aid can stop memory loss

If you’re reading this, then you’re still in the beginning stages of memory loss. It might be barely noticeable. The good news is that it isn’t the hearing loss that contributes to memory loss.

It’s the fact that the hearing loss is neglected.

In these studies, people 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. Individuals who started wearing hearing aids after symptoms began were able to slow the progression significantly.

Stay connected and active as you age. If you want to keep your memory intact you should recognize that it’s closely linked to hearing loss. Don’t dismiss your hearing health. Have your hearing tested. And if there’s any reason you’re not wearing your hearing aid, please speak with us about solutions – we can help!

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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