How Memory is Affected by Hearing Loss

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

Last night, did you turn the volume up on your TV? It may be an indication of hearing loss if so. The challenge is… you can’t quite remember. And that’s been happening more frequently, also. You couldn’t even remember what your new co-worker’s name was when you were at work yesterday. You just met her, but even so, it seems like you’re losing your grip on your memory and your hearing. And there’s only one common denominator you can find: you’re getting older.

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 related to each other. At first, that might sound like bad news (not only do you have to deal with loss of hearing, you have to manage your waning memory too, wonderful). But there can be unseen positives to this relationship.

Memory And Hearing Loss – What’s The Relationship?

Your brain begins to get taxed from hearing impairment before you even realize you have it. Your brain, memory, and even social life can, over time, be overwhelmed by the “spillover”.

How does a deficiency of your ear affect so much of your brain? There are numerous ways:

  • It’s getting quieter: As your hearing starts to diminish, you’re going to experience more quietness (especially if your hearing loss is overlooked and untreated). This can be, well, kind of boring for the region of your brain normally responsible for interpreting sounds. This boredom might not appear to be a serious problem, but disuse can actually cause parts of your brain to weaken and atrophy. That can result in a certain degree of generalized stress, which can hinder your memory.
  • 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 external input signal, your brain struggles to hear what’s happening in the world (your brain doesn’t recognize that you’re experiencing loss of hearing, it just thinks things are very quiet, so it devotes a lot of effort attempting to hear in that silent environment). Your brain and your body will be left exhausted. Loss of memory and other issues can be the outcome.
  • 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 lead to memory issues. The brain will keep getting weaker the less it’s used. Social isolation, depression, and memory problems will, over time, develop.

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

Obviously, having hearing loss isn’t the only thing that leads to memory loss. There are plenty of things that can cause your memories to begin getting fuzzy, and that includes illness or fatigue (either mental or physical forms). As an example, eating right and sleeping well can help improve your memory.

This can be an example of your body putting up red flags. Your brain starts raising red flags when things aren’t working properly. And one of those red flags is failing to remember what your friend said yesterday.

But these warnings can help you recognize when things are starting to go wrong with your hearing.

Hearing Loss is Often Linked to Memory Loss

The symptoms and signs of hearing impairment can frequently be hard to detect. Hearing loss is one of those slow-moving afflictions. Harm to your hearing is often further along than you would want by the time you actually observe the symptoms. However, if you begin to notice symptoms connected to memory loss and get an exam early, there’s a strong chance you can prevent some damage to your hearing.

Getting Your Memories Back

In cases where hearing loss has impacted your memory, whether it’s through social isolation or mental exhaustion, the first step is to deal with the underlying hearing issue. The brain will be capable of getting back to its normal activity when it stops straining and overworking. Be patient, it can take a while for your brain to get used to hearing again.

Memory loss can be a practical warning that you need to keep your eye on the state of your hearing and protecting your ears. As the years begin to add up, that’s definitely a lesson worth remembering.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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