Did you turn the TV up last night? If so, it may be a sign of hearing loss. The problem is… you can’t quite remember. And that’s been occurring more frequently, also. You couldn’t even remember what your new co-worker’s name was when you were at work yesterday. Yes, you just met her but your memory and your hearing seem to be faltering. And there’s only one common denominator you can come up with: aging.
Certainly, both memory and hearing can be impacted by age. But it’s even more significant that these two can also be linked to each other. That may sound like bad news initially (you have to deal with memory loss and hearing loss together…great). But there can be hidden positives to this connection.
Memory And Hearing Loss – What’s The Link?
Hearing loss can be taxing for your brain in numerous ways well before you’re aware of 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 ear affect such a large part of your brain? Well, there are a number of specific ways:
- Constant strain: Your brain will go through a hyper-activation fatigue, especially in the early stages of hearing loss. That’s because your brain will be straining to hear what’s happening out in the world, even though there’s no input signal (it puts in a lot of energy trying to hear because without realizing you have hearing loss, it believes that everything is quiet). Your brain as well as your body will be left fatigued. That mental and physical exhaustion often leads to memory loss.
- It’s becoming quieter: As your hearing begins to waver, you’re going to experience more quietness (this is especially true if your hearing loss is neglected). This can be, well, rather boring for the region of your brain usually responsible for the interpretation of sounds. And if the brain isn’t used it starts to weaken and atrophy. That can lead to a certain amount of overall stress, which can impact your memory.
- Social isolation: When you have a hard time hearing, you’ll probably experience some added obstacles communicating. Social isolation will often be the result, And isolation can bring about memory issues because, once again, your brain isn’t getting as much interaction as it once did. When those (metaphorical) muscles aren’t used, they start to deteriorate. Social isolation, depression, and memory issues will, over time, set in.
Your Body Has An Early Warning System – It’s Called Memory Loss
Clearly, having hearing loss isn’t the only thing that triggers memory loss. There are plenty of things that can cause your memories to begin getting fuzzy, including fatigue and illness (either physical or mental forms). As an example, eating healthy and sleeping well can help help your memory.
Consequently, memory is sort of like the canary in the coal mine for your body. Your brain begins to raise red flags when things aren’t working precisely. And one of those red flags is forgetting what your friend said yesterday.
Those red flags can be useful if you’re trying to watch out for hearing loss.
Memory Loss Often Indicates Hearing Loss
It’s frequently difficult to detect the early signs and symptoms of hearing loss. Hearing loss doesn’t happen over night. Harm to your hearing is usually worse than you would want by the time you actually observe the symptoms. However, if you begin noticing symptoms connected to memory loss and get an exam early, there’s a strong possibility you can avoid some damage to your hearing.
Getting Your Memories Back
In situations where your memory has already been affected by hearing loss, whether it’s through social isolation or mental fatigue, the first task is to manage the root hearing issue. The brain will be capable of getting back to its normal activity when it stops stressing and overworking. Be patient, it can take a while for your brain to adjust 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 start to add up, that’s definitely a lesson worth remembering.