Did you turn the TV up last night? If so, it may be an indication of hearing loss. The problem is… you can’t quite remember. And that’s been occurring more often, also. While working yesterday, you weren’t able to remember your new co-worker’s name. Yes, you just met her but your memory and your hearing seem to be declining. And there’s only one common denominator you can think of: you’re getting older.
Certainly, both hearing and memory can be affected by age. But it turns out these two age-associated conditions are also related to each other. That may sound like bad news at first (not only do you have to cope with loss of hearing, you have to work around your waning memory too, wonderful). But there can be unseen positives to this connection.
The Relationship Between Memory And Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be taxing for your brain in numerous ways long before you recognize the diminishing prowess of your ears. 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? There are numerous ways:
- Constant strain: Your brain will go through a hyper-activation fatigue, especially in the early phases of hearing loss. This occurs because, even though there’s no external 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 realizing you have hearing loss, it believes that everything is quiet). Your brain as well as your body will be left exhausted. Memory loss and other problems can be the result.
- It’s becoming quieter: As your hearing starts to diminish, you’re going to experience more quietness (this is especially true if your hearing loss is neglected). This can be, well, rather boring for the parts of your brain usually responsible for the interpretation of sounds. And if the brain isn’t used it starts to weaken and atrophy. That can cause a certain degree of generalized stress, which can hinder your memory.
- Social isolation: Communication will become strained when you have a hard time hearing. Social isolation will frequently be the result, Once again, your brain is lacking vital interaction which can bring about memory issues. When those (metaphorical) muscles aren’t used, they start to deteriorate. In the long run, social separation can cause anxiety, depression, and memory problems.
Memory Loss is an Early Warning System For Your Body
Obviously, having hearing loss isn’t the only thing that causes memory loss. Mental or physical illness or fatigue, among other things, can trigger memory loss. As an example, eating right and sleeping well can help help your memory.
This can be an example of your body throwing up red flags. Your brain begins to raise red flags when things aren’t working precisely. And one of those red flags is failing to remember what your friend said yesterday.
Those red flags can be useful if you’re attempting to keep an eye out for hearing loss.
Memory Loss Frequently Points to Hearing Loss
The symptoms and signs of hearing loss can often be difficult to detect. Hearing loss doesn’t happen instantly. Once you actually notice the corresponding symptoms, the damage to your hearing is generally more advanced than most hearing specialists would like. But if you get your hearing checked soon after detecting some memory loss, you may be able to catch the issue early.
Retrieving Your Memory
In instances where hearing loss has impacted your memory, whether it’s through social separation or mental fatigue, the first step is to manage the underlying hearing problem. 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 get used to hearing again.
Loss of memory can be a practical warning that you need to keep your eye on the state of your hearing and protecting your ears. That’s a lesson to remember as you get older.