Did you turn up the TV last night? It may be an indication of hearing loss if you did. The problem is… you can’t quite remember. And that’s been happening more frequently, also. You couldn’t even remember what your new co-worker’s name was when you were at work yesterday. You met her recently, but still, it feels like you’re losing your grip on your hearing and your memory. And as you rack your brains, you can only formulate one common cause: you’re getting older.
Now, sure, age can be connected to both hearing loss and memory failure. But it turns out these two age-associated symptoms are also connected to each other. At first, that might seem like bad news (not only do you have to deal with hearing loss, you have to manage your waning memory too, wonderful). But there can be unseen positives to this connection.
Memory And Hearing Loss – What’s The Relationship?
Hearing loss can be taxing for your brain in a number of ways long before you’re aware of the diminishing prowess of your ears. Your brain, memory, and even social life can, over time, be overwhelmed by the “spillover”.
How does a deficiency of your hearing impact so much of your brain? Well, there are several distinct ways:
- 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 strains to hear what’s going on in the world (it devotes a lot of energy trying to hear because without recognizing you have hearing loss, it believes that everything is quiet). Your brain as well as your body will be left fatigued. Loss of memory and other problems can be the result.
- Social isolation: Communication will become strained when you have a hard time hearing. Social isolation will often be the outcome, And isolation can bring about memory problems because, once again, your brain isn’t getting as much interaction as it once did. When those (metaphorical) muscles aren’t used, they start to weaken. Over time, social separation can result in depression, anxiety, and memory problems.
- An abundance of quiet: Things will get quieter when your hearing starts to diminish (particularly if your hearing loss is overlooked and untreated). This can be, well, rather boring for the parts of your brain normally responsible for the interpretation of sounds. This boredom might not appear to be a serious issue, but disuse can actually cause parts of your brain to atrophy or weaken. This can affect the performance of all of your brain’s systems including memory.
Your Body Has An Early Warning System – It’s Called Memory Loss
Obviously, having hearing loss isn’t the only thing that causes memory loss. There are plenty of things that can cause your recollections to start to get fuzzy, and that includes illness or fatigue (either physical or mental forms). As an example, eating healthy and sleeping well can help help your memory.
Consequently, memory is sort of like the canary in the coal mine for your body. Your brain begins to raise red flags when things aren’t working correctly. And having a hard time recollecting who said what in yesterday’s meeting is one of those red flags.
But these warnings can help you know when things are beginning to go wrong with your hearing.
Memory Loss Frequently Indicates Hearing Loss
It’s often hard to detect the early signs and symptoms of hearing loss. Hearing loss is one of those slowly advancing ailments. Harm to your hearing is often further along than you would like by the time you actually notice the symptoms. But if you have your hearing tested soon after noticing some memory loss, you may be able to catch the issue early.
Getting Your Memories Back
In instances where hearing loss has impacted your memory, whether it’s through social isolation or mental exhaustion, treatment of your underlying hearing issue is the first step in treatment. The brain will be capable of getting back to its regular activity when it stops stressing and struggling. It can take several months for your brain to re-adjust to hearing again, so be patient.
The warning signs raised by your loss of memory could help you be a little more aware of protecting your hearing, or at least managing your hearing loss. That’s a lesson to remember as you get older.