Last night, did you turn up the volume on your TV? If you did, it could be a sign of hearing loss. The challenge is… you can’t quite remember. And that’s been occurring more frequently, also. While you were 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 faltering. And as you rack your brains, you can only come up with one common cause: you’re getting older.
Now, absolutely, age can be connected to both hearing loss and memory failure. But it’s even more relevant that these two can also be linked to each other. At first, that may sound like bad news (not only do you have to deal with hearing loss, you have to manage your failing memory too, wonderful). But there can be unseen positives to this connection.
The Connection Between Memory And Hearing Loss
Your brain starts to become taxed from hearing impairment before you even know you have it. 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 impact so much of your brain? Well, there are a number of different ways:
- It’s getting 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, kind of boring for the region of your brain usually responsible for interpreting sounds. This boredom might 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 hard time hearing. That can lead some people to seclude themselves. Once again, your brain is lacking vital interaction which can lead to memory issues. The brain will continue to weaken the less it’s used. Social isolation, depression, and memory issues will, over time, develop.
- Constant strain: Your brain will experience a hyper-activation fatigue, particularly in the early stages 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 know that you’re experiencing loss of hearing, it just thinks things are very quiet, so it gives a lot of energy trying to hear in that silent environment). Your brain and your body will be left fatigued. That mental and physical exhaustion often results in memory loss.
Loss of memory is an Early Warning System For Your Body
Obviously, having hearing loss isn’t the only thing that triggers memory loss. Mental or physical fatigue or illness, among other things, can trigger loss of memory. Eating better and sleeping well, for instance, can often improve your memory.
This can be an example of your body throwing up red flags. The red flags come out when things aren’t working properly. And having trouble remembering who said what in yesterday’s meeting is one of those red flags.
But these warnings can help you recognize when things are beginning to go wrong with your hearing.
Loss of Memory Frequently Indicates Hearing Loss
The symptoms and signs of hearing loss can often be hard to recognize. Hearing loss is one of those slowly advancing afflictions. Harm to your hearing is usually worse than you would want by the time you actually notice the symptoms. But if you have your hearing tested soon after detecting some memory loss, you may be able to catch the problem early.
Getting Your Memories Back
In situations where your memory has already been impacted by hearing loss, either via mental exhaustion or social isolation, the first task is to deal with the underlying hearing problem. When your brain stops overworking and over stressing, it’ll be able to return to its normal activities. It can take a few months for your brain to get used to hearing again, so be patient.
The warning signs raised by your loss of memory could help you be a little more conscious about protecting your hearing, or at least managing your hearing loss. As the years start to add up, that’s definitely a lesson worth remembering.