Last night, did you turn the volume up on your TV? If so, it might be an indication of hearing loss. But you can’t quite remember and that’s an issue. And that’s becoming more of an issue recently. While working yesterday, you couldn’t even remember your new co-worker’s name. Yes, you just met her but your hearing and your memory seem to be declining. And there’s just one common denominator you can think of: you’re getting older.
Now, absolutely, age can be connected to both loss of hearing and memory malfunction. But it’s even more significant that these two can also be related to each other. At first, that might sound like bad news (you have to deal with memory loss and hearing loss at the same time…great). But there can be unseen positives to this relationship.
The Link Between Memory And Hearing Loss
Your brain starts to become strained from hearing impairment before you even know you have it. 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 such a large part of your brain? Well, there are a number of different ways:
- Social isolation: When you have trouble hearing, you’ll likely encounter some extra struggles communicating. That can push some individuals to seclude themselves. And isolation can result in memory issues because, again, your brain isn’t getting as much interaction as it once did. When those (metaphorical) muscles aren’t engaged, they begin to weaken. Social isolation, depression, and memory problems will, over time, set in.
- Constant strain: Your brain will experience a hyper-activation fatigue, especially in the early stages of hearing loss. This occurs because, even though there’s no actual input signal, your brain struggles to hear what’s taking place in the world (it devotes a lot of energy trying to hear because without recognizing you have hearing loss, it thinks that everything is quiet). This can leave your brain (and your body) feeling tired. Memory loss and other problems can be the result.
- An abundance of quiet: 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. This can impact the performance of all of your brain’s systems including memory.
Your Body Has An Early Warning System – It’s Called Memory Loss
Memory loss isn’t unique to hearing loss, naturally. Mental or physical illness or fatigue, among other things, can trigger memory loss. Eating better and sleeping well, for instance, can generally increase your memory.
This can be an example of your body throwing up red flags. The red flags go up when things aren’t working right. And one of those red flags is failing to remember what your friend said yesterday.
Those red flags can be helpful if you’re trying to keep an eye out for hearing loss.
Loss of Memory Frequently Points to Hearing Loss
It’s frequently hard to detect the early symptoms and signs of hearing loss. Hearing loss is one of those slow-moving 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 good possibility you can prevent some damage to your hearing.
Getting Your Memories Back
In situations where your memory has already been impacted by hearing loss, either via mental exhaustion or social isolation, treatment of your underlying hearing issue is step one in treatment. When your brain stops overworking and over stressing, it’ll be capable of returning to its regular activities. Be patient, it can take a bit for your brain to adjust to hearing again.
Loss of memory can be a practical warning that you need to pay attention to the state of your hearing and safeguarding your ears. As the years begin to add up, that’s definitely a lesson worth remembering.