Hearing Health Blog

Woman struggling with a crossword puzzle because she has hearing loss induced memory loss.

Did you turn the TV up last night? If you did, it could be an indication of hearing loss. The problem is… you can’t quite remember. And that’s been happening more frequently, also. While you were working yesterday, you weren’t able to remember your new co-worker’s name. You met her recently, but still, it seems like you’re losing your grip on your hearing and your memory. And there’s only one common denominator you can think of: you’re getting older.

Now, absolutely, age can be connected to both loss of hearing and memory malfunction. But it’s even more relevant that these two can also be connected to each other. That might sound like bad news initially (not only do you have to deal with hearing loss, you have to work around your waning memory too, wonderful). But the truth is, the link between memory and hearing loss can often be a blessing in disguise.

The Relationship Between Memory And Hearing Loss

Hearing impairment can be taxing for your brain in numerous ways long before you recognize 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 affect such a large part of your brain? Well, there are a number of distinct ways:

  • It’s becoming quieter: As your hearing starts to diminish, you’re going to experience more quietness (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 appear to be a serious issue, but lack of use can actually cause portions of your brain to atrophy or weaken. This can impact the function of all of your brain’s systems including memory.
  • Social isolation: Communication will become harder when you have a hard time hearing. That can lead some people to seclude themselves. Once again, your brain is deprived of vital interaction which can bring about memory issues. The brain will keep getting weaker the less it’s used. Social isolation, depression, and memory issues will, over time, set in.
  • Constant strain: In the early phases of hearing loss especially, your brain is going to experience a kind of hyper-activation fatigue. That’s because your brain will be straining to hear what’s happening out in the world, even though there’s no input signal (your brain doesn’t know that you’re experiencing hearing loss, it just thinks things are very quiet, so it devotes a lot of energy trying to hear in that silent environment). Your brain as well as your body will be left exhausted. That mental and physical exhaustion often leads to memory loss.

Your Body Has An Early Warning System – It’s Called Memory Loss

Memory loss isn’t unique to hearing loss, of course. Physical or mental fatigue or illness, among other things, can trigger memory loss. As an example, eating healthy and sleeping well can help help your memory.

This can be a case of your body putting 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 helpful if you’re attempting to watch out for hearing loss.

Loss of Memory Often Indicates Hearing Loss

It’s often difficult to detect the early signs and symptoms of hearing loss. Hearing loss is one of those slowly advancing afflictions. Once you actually recognize the associated symptoms, the damage to your hearing is generally more advanced than most hearing specialists would like. However, if you start noticing symptoms connected to memory loss and get checked out early, there’s a good chance you can avoid some damage to your hearing.

Getting Your Memories Back

In situations where your memory has already been impacted by hearing loss, either via mental exhaustion or social separation, treatment of your root hearing issue is the first step in treatment. The brain will be capable of getting back to its normal activity when it stops straining and struggling. Be patient, it can take a bit for your brain to get used to hearing again.

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.

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