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

Feel like you may be forgetting something important? It isn’t your imagination. It really is becoming more difficult to remember things in everyday life. Memory loss seems to develop fairly quickly once it’s detected. The more aware you are of it, the more incapacitating it is. The majority of people aren’t aware that there’s a link between loss of memory and hearing loss.

And no, this isn’t simply a natural part of aging. 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 hearing impacting your ability to remember? You can delay the development of memory loss considerably and possibly even get some back if you are aware of the cause.

Here are a few facts to think about.

How untreated hearing loss can lead to memory loss

They’re not unrelated. Cognitive issues, including Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in people who have hearing loss.
The reasons for this increased risk are multi-fold.

Mental fatigue

To begin with, hearing loss causes the brain to over-work. Listening to things demands extra effort. Now, your brain needs to work extra hard where in the past it just happened naturally.

It becomes necessary to activate deductive reasoning. When attempting to listen, you remove the unlikely possibilities to determine what someone most likely said.

This puts lots of additional strain on the brain. And when you’re unable to accurately use those deductive reasoning skills it can be very stressful. This can lead to embarrassment, misunderstandings, and even resentment.

How we process memory can be significantly impacted by stress. Mental resources that we should be utilizing for memory get tied up when we’re dealing with stress.

And something new starts to occur as hearing loss advances.

Feeling older

You can begin to “feel older” than you are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat themselves and struggling to hear. If you’re constantly thinking that you’re getting old, it can come to be a self fulfilling prophecy.

Social withdrawal

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

A person with disregarded hearing loss gradually becomes secluded. It’s harder to have phone conversations. Social gatherings 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. You may be off in space feeling secluded even when you’re in a room full of people. Eventually, you might not even have the radio to keep you company.

It’s just easier to spend more time alone. You feel like you can’t relate to your friends now because you feel older than them even though you’re not.

This frequent 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. Parts of the brain aren’t being stimulated anymore. They quit working.

Our brain functions are extremely coordinated. Hearing is linked to speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other skills.

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

It’s exactly like the legs of a bedridden person. Muscles become 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 much more challenging to rehabilitate. Shrinkage actually happens to the brain. Brain Scans show this shrinkage.

How a hearing aid can stop memory loss

You’re probably still in the early stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. It might be barely noticeable. It isn’t 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 neglected.

In these studies, people who were wearing their hearing aids regularly were no more likely to have memory loss than a person of a similar age who doesn’t have hearing loss. The progression of memory loss was delayed in people who began using their hearing aids after noticing symptoms.

Stay connected and active as you age. If you want to keep your memory intact you need to recognize that it’s closely related to hearing loss. Don’t disregard your hearing health. Schedule a hearing exam. And consult us about a solution if you’re not using 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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