Last night, did you turn up the volume on your TV? If so, it may be a sign of hearing loss. But you can’t quite remember and that’s an issue. And that’s been occurring more frequently, too. You couldn’t even remember what your new co-worker’s name was when you were at work yesterday. Yes, you just met her but your memory and your hearing seem to be faltering. And there’s just one common denominator you can come up with: aging.
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 together…great). But the truth is, the link between hearing loss and memory can often be a blessing in disguise.
Memory And Hearing Loss – What’s The Relationship?
Your brain begins to get 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 affect so much of your brain? Well, there are several distinct ways:
- Social isolation: When you have a hard time hearing, you’ll probably encounter some extra obstacles communicating. Social isolation will commonly be the outcome, Again, your brain is lacking vital interaction which can bring about memory issues. The brain will continue to weaken the less it’s used. Eventually, social isolation can cause depression, anxiety, and memory issues.
- It’s becoming quieter: Things will get quieter when your hearing begins to wane (particularly if your hearing loss goes unnoticed and neglected). This can be, well, kind of boring for the parts of your brain normally responsible for interpreting sounds. This boredom may not appear to be a serious problem, but lack of use can actually cause portions of your brain to weaken and atrophy. That can result in a certain degree of overall stress, which can hinder your memory.
- Constant strain: Your brain will experience a hyper-activation fatigue, especially in the early phases of hearing loss. That’s because your brain will be straining to hear what’s going on out in the world, even though there’s no input signal (it puts in a lot of energy trying to hear because without realizing you have hearing loss, it thinks that everything is quiet). This can leave your brain (and your body) feeling exhausted. Loss of memory and other issues can be the outcome.
Memory Loss is an Early Warning System For Your Body
Clearly, having hearing loss isn’t the only thing that triggers 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 improve your memory.
This can be an example of your body throwing up red flags. Your brain starts raising red flags when things aren’t working precisely. And one of those red flags is forgetting what your friend said yesterday.
Those red flags can be useful if you’re attempting to watch out for hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is Frequently Connected to Memory Loss
It’s often hard to detect the early signs and symptoms of hearing loss. Hearing loss doesn’t happen instantly. Harm to your hearing is commonly worse than you would like by the time you actually observe the symptoms. But if you get your hearing checked soon after detecting some memory loss, you might be able to catch the problem early.
Getting Your Memories Back
In situations where hearing loss has impacted your memory, whether it’s through social isolation or mental fatigue, the first task is to deal with the underlying hearing problem. The brain will be able to get back to its regular activity when it stops stressing and struggling. It can take a few months for your brain to re-adjust to hearing again, so be patient.
Memory loss can be a practical warning that you need to keep your eye on the state of your hearing and protecting your ears. As the years begin to add up, that’s certainly a lesson worth remembering.