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

Are you forgetting something? It isn’t your imagination. It really is getting more difficult to remember things in daily life. Loss of memory seems to progress rather quickly once it’s detected. The more aware you are of it, the more incapacitating it becomes. The majority of people aren’t aware that there’s a connection between memory loss and hearing loss.

And no, this isn’t just a normal occurrence of aging. There’s always a root cause for the loss of the ability to process memories.

Ignored hearing loss is frequently that reason. Is your hearing impacting your memory? By knowing the cause of your loss of memory, you can take steps to delay its progression substantially and, in many cases, bring your memory back.

Here are some facts to think about.

How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss

They’re not unrelated. Cognitive issues, such as Alzheimer’s and memory loss, were 24% more likely in individuals who have hearing loss.
There are complex interrelated reasons for this.

Mental exhaustion

Initially, the brain will have to work harder to overcome hearing loss. Listening to things takes additional effort. Now, your brain needs to work extra hard where before it just happened naturally.

You begin to use your deductive reasoning skills. When attempting to hear, you eliminate the unlikely possibilities to figure out what someone probably said.

This puts a lot of added stress on the brain. It’s particularly stressful when your deductive reasoning skills let you down. This can cause embarrassment, misunderstandings, and even resentment.

Stress has a huge effect on how we process memory. When we’re stressed, we’re spending brain resources that we should be utilizing for memory.

And something new begins to happen as hearing loss worsens.

Feeling older

This stress of having to work harder to hear and asking people to repeat what they said makes a person “feel older” than they are. This can begin a downhill spiral in which thoughts of “getting old” when you’re actually not become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Social withdrawal

We’ve all heard the trope of someone who’s so lonely that they start to lose touch with reality. Human beings are created to be social. When they’re never with other people, even introverts have a hard time.

A person with disregarded hearing loss slowly becomes isolated. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. Social gatherings are not so enjoyable because you have to ask people to repeat what they said. Friends and family start to exclude you from discussions. Even when you’re in a setting with a lot of people, you might space out and feel alone. Eventually, you might not even have the radio to keep you company.

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

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

Brain atrophy

As someone who is coping with untreated hearing loss starts to isolate themselves either physically or just mentally, a chain reaction initiates in the brain. Parts of the brain are no longer being stimulated. When this occurs, those regions of the brain atrophy and stop working.

There’s a high degree of interconnectivity between the various regions of the brain. Hearing is linked to speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other skills.

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

It’s just like the legs of a person who is bedridden. When they’re sick in bed for a long time, leg muscles get really weak. They may possibly just quit working completely. Learning to walk again could require 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 demonstrate this shrinkage.

How a hearing aid can stop memory loss

If you’re reading this, then you’re still in the beginning stages of memory loss. It may be hardly noticeable. It isn’t the hearing loss itself that is leading to memory loss, and that’s the good news.

It’s neglected hearing loss.

In this research, those who were using their hearing aids regularly were no more likely to have memory loss than somebody of a similar age who has healthy hearing. Those who began using hearing aids after symptoms appeared were able to slow the progression significantly.

Stay connected and active as you age. Keep your memories, memory loss is connected to hearing loss. Be mindful of the health of your hearing. Schedule a hearing test. And if there’s any reason you’re not wearing your hearing aid, please consult us about treatment options – we can help!

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