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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? It’s not your imagination. Remembering everyday things is becoming harder and harder. Memory loss seems to advance rather quickly once it’s detected. It becomes more incapacitating the more you become aware of it. Did you know memory loss is connected to 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.

For many that cause is untreated hearing loss. Is your ability to remember being affected by hearing loss? You can slow the onset of memory loss substantially and perhaps even get some back if you are aware of the cause.

This is what you need to know.

How memory loss can be triggered by untreated hearing loss

There is a link. In fact, scientists have found that those with neglected hearing loss are 24% more likely to experience dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other profound cognitive issues.
There are complicated 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. While this came naturally in the past, it’s now something your mind has to work to process.

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

Your brain is under added strain because of this. And when you can’t accurately use those deductive reasoning skills it can be very stressful. This can result in embarrassment, misconceptions, and even bitterness.

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

As the hearing loss worsens, something new occurs.

Feeling older

You can begin to “feel older” than you are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat what they said and straining to hear. If you’re always thinking that you’re getting old, it can become 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. Humans are social creatures. When they’re never with other people, even introverts have a hard time.

Untreated hearing loss slowly isolates a person. Talking on the phone becomes a chore. You need to have people repeat what they said at social events making them a lot less enjoyable. Family and friends start to exclude you from discussions. Even when you’re in a setting with lots of people, you might space out and feel secluded. Eventually, you may not even have the radio to keep you company.

It’s just better to spend more time by yourself. You feel as if you can’t relate to your friends anymore because you feel older than them even though you’re not.

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

Brain atrophy

A chain reaction commences in the brain when someone starts to physically or mentally seclude themselves. There’s no more stimulation going to parts of the brain. They quit functioning.

Our brain functions are extremely interconnected. Skills like problem solving, learning, speech, and memory are all related 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 analogous to how the legs become atrophied when someone is bedridden for a long period of time. When they’re sick in bed for an extended time, leg muscles get really weak. They may stop working altogether. Learning to walk again could call for physical therapy.

But when it comes to the brain, this damage is a lot more difficult to rehabilitate. The brain actually begins to shrink. Brain Scans demonstrate this shrinkage.

How a hearing aid can stop memory loss

You’re probably still in the beginning stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. You might not even barely be aware of it. The great news is that it isn’t the hearing loss that leads to memory loss.

It’s untreated hearing loss.

Research has revealed that people that have hearing loss who regularly wear their hearing aid have the same risk of developing memory loss as somebody of the same age with healthy hearing. People who started using hearing aids after symptoms appeared were able to slow the progression considerably.

As you get older, try to stay connected and active. Keep your memories, memory loss is connected to hearing loss. Don’t dismiss your hearing health. Have your hearing tested. And talk to us about a solution if you’re not wearing your hearing aid for some reason.

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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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