Did you turn the TV up last night? If you did, it could be an indication of hearing loss. But you can’t quite remember and that’s a problem. And that’s been occurring more often, also. While you were working yesterday, you couldn’t even remember your new co-worker’s name. You met her recently, but even so, it seems like you’re losing your grip on your hearing and your memory. And as you rack your brains, you can only come up with one common cause: aging.
Certainly, both hearing and memory can be affected by age. But it’s even more relevant that these two can also be linked to each other. At first, that may sound 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 relationship.
The Connection Between Memory And Hearing Loss
Your brain starts to become taxed 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 ear impact such a large part of your brain? There are several ways:
- Constant strain: In the early stages of hearing loss especially, your brain is going to experience a type of hyper-activation exhaustion. This occurs because, even though there’s no actual input signal, your brain struggles to hear what’s happening in the world (it devotes 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 tired. That mental and physical exhaustion often causes loss of memory.
- Social isolation: Communication will become strained when you have a difficult time hearing. Social isolation will frequently be the result, And isolation can result in memory issues because, once again, your brain isn’t getting as much interaction as it once did. The brain will continue to weaken the less it’s used. Social isolation, depression, and memory issues will, over time, set in.
- An abundance of quiet: As your hearing starts to waver, you’re going to experience more quietness (especially if your hearing loss is overlooked and untreated). This can be, well, kind of boring for the parts of your brain normally responsible for the interpretation of sounds. And if the brain isn’t used it starts to weaken and atrophy. This can interfere with the performance of all of your brain’s systems and that includes memory.
Memory Loss is an Early Warning System For Your Body
Memory loss isn’t unique to hearing loss, naturally. There are lots of things that can cause your recollections to begin getting fuzzy, such as illness or fatigue (either mental or physical varieties). Eating better and sleeping well, for instance, can usually increase your memory.
This can be a case of your body throwing up red flags. The red flags come out when things aren’t working properly. And one of those red flags is forgetting what your friend said yesterday.
Those red flags can be useful if you’re trying to watch out for hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is Frequently Connected to Memory Loss
The signs and symptoms of hearing loss can frequently be difficult to recognize. Hearing loss is one of those slow-moving afflictions. Damage to your hearing is usually worse than you would like by the time you actually notice the symptoms. But if you have your hearing checked soon after noticing some memory loss, you may be able to catch the issue early.
Retrieving Your Memory
In situations where your memory has already been impacted by hearing loss, either via mental fatigue or social separation, treatment of your root hearing issue is step one in treatment. When your brain stops struggling and over stressing, it’ll be able to return to its normal activities. 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 safeguarding your ears. That’s a lesson to remember as you get older.