Hearing Health Blog

Woman with hearing loss doing dishes because she forgot to turn the dishwasher on.

As of late, Chris has been a little bit forgetful. She forgot her doctor’s appointment for the second month in a row (now she needs to reschedule again). And before she went to bed she even forgot to run the dishwasher (looks as if she’ll be handwashing her coffee cup today). Things have been getting lost lately. Chris has been feeling mentally fatigued and depleted all the time but, curiously, she doesn’t feel forgetful.

Only after that feeling is sneaking up on you, will you start to realize it. But in spite of how forgetful you might feel, the issue isn’t actually about memory. Your hearing is the real issue. And that means there’s one tiny device, a hearing aid, that can help you significantly improve your memory.

How to Improve Your Memory And General Cognitive Function

So, having a hearing exam is the first step to enhance your memory so you will remember that eye exam and will remember everyone’s name in the next meeting. A typical hearing examination will be able to find out if you have hearing loss and how bad any impairment might be.

Chris hesitates, though, because she hasn’t detected any signs or symptoms of hearing loss. She can hear in crowded rooms fairly well enough. And she’s never had a hard time listening to any of her team members at work.

But she could have some degree of hearing loss even though she hasn’t recognized any symptoms yet. In fact, one of the first symptoms of hearing impairment is memory loss. And strain on the brain is the base cause. This is how it works:

  • Gradually and almost imperceptibly, your hearing starts to fade.
  • However slight, your ears begin to notice a lack of sound input.
  • Your brain begins working a little harder to decipher and boost the sounds you are able to hear.
  • You can’t notice any real difference but in order to comprehend sound your brain has to work overtime.

Your brain only has a limited amount of processing power which can really be dragged down by that sort of strain. So you have less mental energy for things like, well, memory or for other cognitive functions.

Dementia And Hearing Loss

If you take loss of memory to its most obvious extremes, you could end up dealing with something like dementia. And there is a connection between dementia and hearing loss, though what the specific cause-effect relationship is, continues to be somewhat unknown. Still, there is a higher risk of cognitive decline in people who have untreated hearing loss, which can start as memory loss and ultimately (over the years) develop into more serious issues.

Keeping Fatigue Under Control With Hearing Aids

This is why it’s crucial to treat your hearing loss. Marked increase in cognitive function was noted in 97.3% of individuals with hearing loss who used hearing aids for at least 18 months according to one study.

Similar results have been seen in a variety of other studies. It’s unquestionably helpful to wear hearing aids. Your overall cognitive function gets better when your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear. Memory loss and problems with cognitive function can have many complex factors and hearing aids aren’t always a magic bullet.

Memory Loss Can be The First Signal of Hearing Loss

This kind of memory loss is almost always temporary, it’s a sign of mental fatigue more than an underlying change in the way your brain operates. But if the fundamental problems are not dealt with, that could change.

So if you’re recognizing some memory loss, it can be an early warning of hearing loss. You should schedule an appointment with your hearing professional as soon as you detect these symptoms. Your memory will probably go back to normal when your fundamental hearing concerns are dealt with.

And your hearing will probably improve also. A hearing aid can help slow the decline in your hearing. These little devices, in this way, will enhance your total health not just your hearing.

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