Last night, did you turn the volume up on your TV? It might be an indication of hearing loss if you did. But you can’t quite remember and that’s a problem. And that’s been happening more often, too. You couldn’t even remember the name of your new co-worker when you were at work yesterday. Yes, you just met her but your memory and your hearing seem to be declining. And there’s just one common denominator you can find: aging.
Now, sure, age can be connected to both hearing loss and memory malfunction. But it’s even more relevant that these two can also be connected to each other. At first, that might seem like bad news (not only do you have to cope with loss of hearing, you have to work around your failing memory too, wonderful). But there can be unseen positives to this connection.
Memory And Hearing Loss – What’s The Link?
Your brain begins to get strained from hearing loss before you even know you have it. Your brain, memory, and even social life can, over time, be overwhelmed by the “spillover”.
How is so much of your brain impacted by hearing loss? There are numerous ways:
- Constant strain: Your brain will experience a hyper-activation fatigue, particularly in the early phases of hearing loss. This occurs because, even though there’s no actual input signal, your brain struggles to hear what’s going on in the world (your brain doesn’t know that you’re experiencing loss of hearing, it just thinks external sounds are very quiet, so it devotes a lot of energy trying to hear in that silent environment). Your brain and your body will be left exhausted. Loss of memory and other problems can be the outcome.
- An abundance of quiet: Things will get quieter when your hearing starts to diminish (this is particularly true if your hearing loss is neglected). For the regions of your brain that interprets sound, this can be quite dull. This boredom may not seem like a serious problem, but disuse can actually cause portions of your brain to atrophy or weaken. This can interfere with the performance of all of your brain’s systems including memory.
- Social isolation: Communication will become strained when you have a difficult time hearing. Social isolation will frequently be the outcome, And isolation can result in memory problems because, again, your brain isn’t getting as much interaction as it once did. The brain will keep getting weaker the less it’s used. Social isolation, depression, and memory issues will, over time, develop.
Your Body Has An Early Warning System – It’s Called Memory Loss
Memory loss isn’t unique to hearing loss, naturally. Physical or mental fatigue or illness, among other things, can cause loss of memory. As an example, eating healthy and sleeping well can help improve your memory.
Consequently, memory is kind of like the canary in the coal mine for your body. Your brain starts raising red flags when things aren’t working correctly. 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.
Loss of Memory Often Points to Hearing Loss
It’s often hard to recognize the early symptoms and signs of hearing loss. Hearing loss is one of those slow-moving afflictions. Damage to your hearing is commonly worse than you would want by the time you actually observe the symptoms. However, if you start noticing symptoms associated with memory loss and get checked out early, there’s a good chance you can prevent some damage to your hearing.
Retrieving Your Memory
In instances where hearing loss has impacted your memory, either via mental exhaustion or social separation, treatment of your root hearing issue is the first step in treatment. When your brain stops overworking and straining, it’ll be able to return to its normal activities. Be patient, it can take a bit for your brain to adjust to hearing again.
Loss of memory can be a practical warning that you need to pay attention to the state of your hearing and protecting your ears. That’s a lesson to remember as you get older.