Did you turn the TV up last night? It may be a sign of hearing loss if so. The problem is… you can’t quite remember. And that’s starting become more of an issue recently. You couldn’t even remember the name of your new co-worker when you were at work yesterday. You just met her, but still, it feels like you’re losing your grip on your hearing and your memory. And there’s only one common denominator you can come up with: you’re getting older.
Certainly, both memory and hearing can be affected by age. But it’s even more significant that these two can also be related to each other. That may sound like bad news initially (you have to deal with hearing loss and memory loss at the same time…great). But the truth is, the relationship between hearing loss and memory can often be a blessing in disguise.
The Link Between Memory And Hearing Loss
Your brain starts to become taxed from hearing impairment before you even realize you have it. Your brain, memory, and even social life can, over time, be overwhelmed by the “spillover”.
How does a deficiency of your hearing impact such a large part of your brain? There are several 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). This can be, well, rather boring for the parts of your brain usually responsible for the interpretation of sounds. This boredom may not appear to be a serious problem, but lack of use can actually cause portions of your brain to atrophy or weaken. This can interfere with the function of all of your brain’s systems and that includes memory.
- Social isolation: When you have difficulty hearing, you’ll likely experience some extra struggles communicating. Social isolation will commonly be the result, Once again, your brain is deprived of vital interaction which can bring about memory problems. The brain will keep getting weaker the less it’s used. Social isolation, depression, and memory problems will, over time, set in.
- Constant strain: Your brain will experience a hyper-activation fatigue, particularly in the early phases of hearing loss. That’s because your brain will be straining to hear what’s happening out in the world, even though there’s no input signal (your brain doesn’t know that you’re experiencing hearing loss, it just thinks things are very quiet, so it gives a lot of energy attempting to hear in that silent environment). Your brain as well as your body will be left fatigued. Memory loss and other issues can be the result.
Your Body Has An Early Warning System – It’s Called Memory Loss
Clearly, having hearing loss isn’t the only thing that leads to memory loss. Mental or physical fatigue or illness, among other things, can trigger loss of memory. As an example, eating healthy and sleeping well can help help your memory.
This can be a case of your body putting up red flags. Your brain begins to raise red flags when things aren’t working precisely. And one of those red flags is failing to remember what your friend said yesterday.
Those red flags can be useful if you’re trying to keep an eye out for hearing loss.
Loss of Memory Often Points to Hearing Loss
The signs and symptoms of hearing loss can often be hard to recognize. Hearing loss doesn’t develop over night. Damage to your hearing is commonly further along than you would want by the time you actually observe the symptoms. However, if you start to notice symptoms connected to memory loss and get checked out early, there’s a strong possibility you can avoid some damage to your hearing.
Retrieving Your Memory
In situations where hearing loss has impacted your memory, whether it’s through social separation or mental fatigue, treatment of your root hearing problem is the first step in treatment. The brain will be able to get back to its normal activity when it stops stressing and struggling. Be patient, it can take a bit for your brain to get used to hearing again.
Loss of memory can be a practical warning that you need to pay attention to the state of your hearing and protecting your ears. That’s a lesson to remember as you get older.