Forgetting Important 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 getting harder and harder. Loss of memory seems to develop rather quickly once it’s detected. It becomes more incapacitating the more aware of it you become. Most people aren’t aware that there’s a connection between memory loss and hearing loss.

If you believe 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.

Disregarded hearing loss is frequently that reason. Is your hearing affecting your ability to remember? You can slow the development of memory loss significantly and perhaps even get some back if you are aware of what’s causing it.

Here are some facts to think about.

How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss

There is a relationship. As a matter of fact, researchers have found that those with neglected hearing loss are 24% more likely to experience dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other extreme cognitive problems.
There are complex interrelated reasons for this.

Mental fatigue

To begin with, hearing loss causes the brain to over-work. You have to make an effort to listen to something. Now, your brain has to work hard where in the past it just occurred naturally.

It becomes necessary to activate deductive reasoning. You attempt to determine what people probably said by removing unlikely possibilities.

Your brain is under added strain as a result. It’s especially stressful when your deductive reasoning abilities let you down. The outcome of this can be misconceptions, embarrassment, and sometimes even bitterness.

Stress has a huge impact 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 begins to occur as hearing loss worsens.

Feeling older

This stress of having to work overtime to hear and asking people to repeat what they said makes a person “feel older” than they actually are. If you’re constantly thinking that you’re getting old, it can come to be a self fulfilling prophecy.

Social solitude

We’re all familiar with that story of somebody whose loneliness causes them to lose their grip on the world around them. Human beings are created to be social. When they’re never with other people, even introverts struggle.

A person with neglected hearing loss slowly becomes isolated. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. Social get-togethers are less enjoyable because you need to ask people to repeat what they said. You begin to be excluded from conversations by family and friends. Even when you’re in a setting with a lot of people, you may space out and feel alone. The radio might not even be there to keep you company after a while.

Being alone just seems simpler. You feel as if you can’t relate to your friends now because you feel older than them even though you’re not.

This frequent lack of mental stimulus makes it harder for the brain to process new information.

Brain atrophy

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

Our brain functions are very interconnected. 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 linked to memory.

It’s similar to how the legs become atrophied when a person is bedridden for an extended time. When they are sick in bed for a long time, leg muscles become really weak. They may possibly just stop working completely. Learning to walk again may require physical therapy.

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

How memory loss can be prevented by hearing aids

You’re probably still in the early stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. It may be barely noticeable. It isn’t the hearing loss itself that is contributing to memory loss, and that’s the good news.

It’s neglected hearing loss.

Research has shown that individuals that have hearing loss who regularly use their hearing aid have the same risk of developing memory loss as somebody of the same age with healthy hearing. Individuals who started wearing hearing aids after symptoms began were able to delay the progression significantly.

As you age, try to stay connected and active. Keep your memories, memory loss is linked to hearing loss. Be mindful of the health of your hearing. Schedule a hearing test. And if there’s any reason you’re not using your hearing aid, please consult us about treatment options – 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.