Last night, did you turn up the volume on your TV? If so, it could be an indication of hearing loss. The challenge is… you can’t quite remember. And that’s starting become more of a problem recently. 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 as you think about it, you can only come up with one common cause: aging.
Now, sure, age can be connected to both loss of hearing and memory failure. But it turns out these two age-associated symptoms are also linked to one another. That may sound like bad news initially (you have to deal with memory loss and hearing loss together…great). But there can be unseen positives to this relationship.
The Link Between Memory And Hearing Loss
Hearing impairment can be taxing for your brain in a number of ways well before you recognize the decrease in your hearing. 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 such a large part of your brain? Well, there are a number of distinct ways:
- Constant strain: Your brain will undergo a hyper-activation fatigue, especially in the early stages of hearing loss. That’s because your brain will be straining to hear what’s taking place out in the world, even though there’s no input signal (your brain doesn’t recognize that you’re experiencing loss of hearing, it just thinks things are very quiet, so it gives a lot of effort trying to hear in that silent environment). Your brain and your body will be left exhausted. That mental and physical exhaustion often results in loss of memory.
- Social isolation: Communication will become harder when you have a difficult time hearing. Social isolation will often be the consequence, Once again, your brain is deprived of vital interaction which can result in memory issues. The brain will keep getting weaker the less it’s used. Social isolation, depression, and memory problems will, over time, set in.
- It’s getting quieter: Things will get quieter when your hearing begins to wane (particularly if your hearing loss goes unnoticed and untreated). For the regions of your brain that interprets sound, this can be quite dull. And if the brain isn’t used it begins to weaken and atrophy. That can cause a certain degree of overall stress, which can impact your memory.
Your Body Has An Early Warning System – It’s Called Memory Loss
Clearly, having hearing loss isn’t the only thing that triggers memory loss. Physical or mental illness or fatigue, among other things, can trigger loss of memory. As an example, eating right and sleeping well can help help your memory.
This can be an example of your body putting up red flags. The red flags go up when things aren’t working properly. And having difficulty recalling who said what in yesterday’s meeting is one of those red flags.
Those red flags can be helpful if you’re attempting to watch out for hearing loss.
Memory Loss Often Points to Hearing Loss
The signs and symptoms of hearing impairment can often be difficult to recognize. Hearing loss doesn’t happen over night. Once you actually recognize the corresponding symptoms, the damage to your hearing is generally farther along than most hearing specialists would like. However, if you begin to notice symptoms associated with 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 your memory has already been impacted by hearing loss, either via mental exhaustion or social separation, treatment of your root hearing problem is the first step in treatment. When your brain stops struggling and straining, it’ll be capable of returning to its normal activities. Be patient, it can take a bit for your brain to adjust to hearing again.
The warning signs raised by your memory loss could help you be a little more conscious about protecting your hearing, or at least treating your hearing loss. As the years start to add up, that’s certainly a lesson worth remembering.