Forgetting Essential Information? This May be Why

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? You aren’t imagining it. Remembering everyday things is becoming more and more difficult. Once you become aware of it, memory loss seems to advance quickly. 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 just a natural occurrence of getting older. Losing the ability to process memories always has an underlying reason.

For many that cause is untreated hearing loss. Is your hearing affecting your ability to remember? By knowing the cause of your loss of memory, you can take measures to slow down its progression substantially and, in many instances, bring back your memory.

Here’s what you should know.

How untreated hearing loss can lead to memory loss

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

Mental fatigue

Initially, the brain will need to work overtime to overcome hearing loss. 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 utilize deductive reasoning. You attempt to figure out what people probably said by eliminating unlikely possibilities.

Your brain is under added strain because of this. It’s particularly stressful when your deductive reasoning abilities lead you astray. The outcome of this can be misunderstandings, embarrassment, and sometimes even resentment.

Stress has a major effect on how we process memory. 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

This strain 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 constantly thinking that you’re getting old, it can come to be a self fulfilling prophecy.

Social isolation

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. When they’re never with others, even introverts struggle.

Untreated hearing loss slowly isolates a person. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. You need to have people repeat themselves at social events making them much less enjoyable. You begin 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 over time.

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

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

Brain atrophy

As a person with neglected hearing loss starts to seclude themselves either physically or just mentally, a chain reaction starts in the brain. Parts of the brain aren’t being stimulated anymore. They stop functioning.

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

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

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 stop working completely. Learning to walk again may call for physical therapy.

But with the brain, this damage is a lot more challenging to rehabilitate. Shrinkage actually happens to the brain. Doctors can see this on brain scans.

How a hearing aid can prevent memory loss

You’re likely still in the early stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. It might be hardly noticeable. It isn’t the hearing loss itself that is leading to memory loss, and that’s the good news.

It’s untreated hearing loss.

Research has revealed that individuals that have hearing loss who regularly use their hearing aid have the same chance of developing memory loss as someone of the same age with healthy hearing. The progression of memory loss was slowed 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 should understand that it’s closely related to hearing loss. Don’t dismiss your hearing health. Schedule a hearing test. And consult us about a solution if you’re not wearing 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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