Last night, did you turn the volume up on your TV? If so, it could be an indication of hearing loss. But you can’t quite remember and that’s an issue. And that’s been happening more often, also. You couldn’t even remember the name of your new co-worker when you were at work yesterday. You just met her, but even so, it seems like you’re losing your grip on your hearing and your memory. And there’s just one common denominator you can think of: you’re getting older.
Certainly, both hearing and memory can be impacted by age. But it turns out these two age-associated symptoms are also related to one another. At first, that might seem like bad news (not only do you have to cope with loss of hearing, you have to manage your failing memory too, wonderful). But there can be unseen positives to this relationship.
Memory And Hearing Loss – What’s The Relationship?
Hearing impairment can be straining for your brain in a number of ways long before you’re aware of the decrease in your hearing. Though the “spillover” effects may start out small, over time they can expand, encompassing your brain, your memory, even your social life.
How does a deficiency of your hearing impact so much of your brain? There are numerous ways:
- It’s getting quieter: Things will get quieter when your hearing starts to wane (this is especially true if your hearing loss is neglected). For the parts of your brain that interprets sound, this can be rather dull. And if the brain isn’t used it begins to weaken and atrophy. That can cause a certain amount of generalized stress, which can interfere with your memory.
- Social isolation: When you have difficulty hearing, you’ll probably experience some additional obstacles communicating. That can lead some people to isolate themselves. Again, your brain is lacking vital interaction which can lead to memory issues. The brain will keep getting weaker the less it’s used. In the long run, social isolation can lead to anxiety, depression, and memory issues.
- Constant strain: Your brain will go through a hyper-activation fatigue, particularly in the early phases of hearing loss. This happens because, even though there’s no external input signal, your brain strains to hear what’s going on in the world (your brain doesn’t recognize that you’re experiencing hearing loss, it just thinks external sounds are very quiet, so it devotes a lot of energy attempting to hear in that silent environment). This can leave your brain (and your body) feeling tired. Loss of memory and other problems can be the outcome.
Loss of memory is an Early Warning System For Your Body
Memory loss isn’t exclusive to hearing loss, naturally. Physical or mental illness or fatigue, among other things, can cause loss of memory. As an example, eating right and sleeping well can help help your memory.
This can be a case of your body throwing up red flags. Your brain begins to raise red flags when things aren’t working precisely. And having a hard time recollecting who said what in yesterday’s meeting is one of those red flags.
Those red flags can be useful if you’re attempting to keep an eye out for hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is Commonly Linked to Loss of Memory
It’s frequently difficult to recognize the early signs and symptoms of hearing loss. Hearing loss is one of those slowly advancing ailments. Once you actually recognize the corresponding symptoms, the damage to your hearing tends to be farther along than most hearing specialists would like. However, if you begin to notice symptoms connected to memory loss and get checked out early, there’s a strong possibility you can prevent some damage to your hearing.
Getting Your Memories Back
In instances where hearing loss has impacted your memory, either via mental fatigue or social isolation, treatment of your root hearing problem is step one in treatment. The brain will be able to get back to its regular activity when it stops straining and struggling. It can take a few months for your brain to re-adjust to hearing again, so be patient.
Loss of memory can be a practical warning that you need to pay attention to the state of your hearing and safeguarding your ears. That’s a lesson to remember as you get older.