Forgot Something Significant? Memory Loss is Linked to This

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

Feel like you might be forgetting something crucial? You’re not imagining it. Remembering day-to-day things is getting harder and harder. Loss of memory seems to develop fairly quickly once it’s detected. The more you are aware of it, the more debilitating it becomes. Did you know memory loss is connected to hearing loss?

And no, this isn’t simply a natural occurrence of getting older. Losing the ability to process memories always has an underlying reason.

Ignored hearing loss is often that reason. Is your ability to remember being affected by hearing loss? You can slow the onset of memory loss significantly and possibly even get some back if you know the cause.

Here’s what you should know.

How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss

There is a relationship. In fact, scientists have found that individuals who have neglected hearing loss are 24% more likely to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other severe cognitive problems.
The reasons for this increased risk are multi-fold.

Mental fatigue

At first, hearing loss causes the brain to work extra hard. You have to strain to hear things. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your brain has to work to process.

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

Your brain is under additional strain because of this. And when you’re unable to accurately use those deductive reasoning skills it can be really stressful. This can result in embarrassment, misconceptions, and even resentment.

How we process memory can be seriously affected by stress. Mental resources that we should be using for memory get tied up when we’re suffering from stress.

And something new begins to happen as hearing loss worsens.

Feeling older

You can begin to “feel older” than you actually are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat what they said and struggling to hear. If you’re always thinking that you’re getting old, it can become a self fulfilling prophecy.

Social withdrawal

We’ve all heard the trope of the person who’s so lonely that they start to lose touch with reality. We humans are social creatures. Even introverts have difficulty when they’re never with others.

A person with untreated hearing loss slowly becomes secluded. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. You need to have people repeat themselves at social events making them much less enjoyable. Friends and family start to exclude you from discussions. You might be off in space feeling secluded even when you’re in a room full of people. Eventually, you may not even have the radio to keep you company.

It’s just better to spend more time by yourself. You feel older than others your age and don’t feel like you can relate to them anymore.

When your brain isn’t frequently stimulated it becomes hard to process new information.

Brain atrophy

A chain reaction starts in the brain when a person begins to physically or mentally isolate themselves. Parts of the brain aren’t being stimulated anymore. When this takes place, those regions of the brain atrophy and quit working.

There’s a high degree of interconnectivity between the various parts of the brain. Abilities like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all linked to hearing.

There will normally be a gradual spread of this functional atrophy to other brain functions, like hearing, which is also connected to memory.

It’s similar to how the legs become atrophied when someone is bedridden for a long time. When they are sick in bed for a long time, leg muscles get very weak. They may quit working entirely. Learning to walk again may call for physical therapy.

But the brain is different. Once it goes down this slippery slope, it’s hard to undo the damage. 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 barely noticeable. The good news is that it’s not the hearing loss that contributes to memory loss.

It’s untreated hearing loss.

In these studies, those who were using their hearing aids regularly were no more likely to have memory loss than somebody of a similar age who doesn’t have hearing loss. The advancement of memory loss was delayed in people who started wearing their hearing aids after experiencing symptoms.

As you age, try to remain connected and active. Keep your memories, memory loss is linked to hearing loss. Don’t ignore your hearing health. Have your hearing tested. And talk to us about a solution if you’re not using your hearing aid for some reason.

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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