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

Are you forgetting something? You aren’t imagining it. It really is getting harder to remember things in everyday life. Loss of memory seems to develop fairly quickly once it’s noticed. It becomes more debilitating the more you become aware of it. The majority of people don’t realize that there’s a link between memory loss and hearing loss.

If you think that this is simply a natural part of the aging process, you would be wrong. Losing the ability to process memories always has an underlying reason.

Ignored hearing loss is often that reason. Is your hearing affecting your memory? By discovering the cause of your memory loss, you can take measures to delay its progression considerably and, in many instances, bring your memory back.

Here are a few facts to consider.

How neglected hearing loss can contribute to memory loss

They’re not unrelated. As a matter of fact, researchers have found that individuals with untreated hearing loss are 24% more likely to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other extreme cognitive issues.
There are complicated interrelated reasons for this.

Mental exhaustion

At first, hearing loss causes the brain to over-work. Listening to things requires added effort. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your brain has to strain to process.

You start to use your deductive reasoning skills. When attempting to listen, you eliminate the unlikely possibilities to determine what someone probably said.

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

How we process memory can be seriously affected by stress. When we’re stressed out, we’re spending brain resources that we should be utilizing for memory.

And something new starts to happen as hearing loss advances.

Feeling older

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

Social solitude

We’re all familiar with that story of someone whose loneliness causes them to lose touch with the world around them. We humans are social creatures. Even people who are introverted struggle when they’re never with other people.

A person with disregarded hearing loss slowly becomes isolated. It’s harder to have phone conversations. Social get-togethers are less enjoyable because you need to ask people to repeat themselves. Family and friends start to exclude you from discussions. Even when you’re in a room with lots of people, you may zone out and feel alone. The radio might not even be there to keep you company over time.

It’s just better to spend more time alone. You feel older than people your age and don’t feel that you can relate to them anymore.

When your brain isn’t regularly stimulated it becomes difficult to process new information.

Brain atrophy

A chain reaction starts in the brain when somebody starts to physically or mentally isolate themselves. There’s no more stimulation going to regions of the brain. They 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 linked to hearing.

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

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

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. Doctors can observe this on brain scans.

How memory loss can be stopped by hearing aids

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

It’s untreated hearing loss.

Research has revealed that individuals that have hearing loss who regularly wear their hearing aid have the same risk of developing memory loss as someone of the same age with healthy hearing. Individuals who started wearing hearing aids after symptoms began were able to slow the progression substantially.

Stay connected and active as you get older. If you want to keep your memory intact you need to understand that it’s closely related to hearing loss. Don’t ignore your hearing health. Schedule a hearing test. And if there’s any reason you’re not using your hearing aid, please consult us about solutions – we can help!

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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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