How Memory is Impacted by Hearing Loss

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

Last night, did you turn up the volume on your TV? It may be a sign of hearing loss if so. The challenge 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 hearing and your memory seem to be declining. And there’s only one common denominator you can find: you’re getting older.

Certainly, both memory and hearing can be affected by age. But it’s even more significant that these two can also be connected to each other. That might sound like bad news at first (you have to deal with hearing loss and memory loss at the same time…great). But there can be hidden positives to this connection.

Memory And Hearing Loss – What’s The Connection?

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

How is so much of your brain affected by hearing loss? There are numerous ways:

  • Social isolation: Communication will become harder when you have a hard time hearing. That can lead some people to isolate themselves. Once again, your brain is lacking vital interaction which can result in memory problems. The brain will keep getting weaker the less it’s used. Social isolation, depression, and memory issues will, over time, develop.
  • It’s getting quieter: As your hearing begins to diminish, you’re going to experience more quietness (particularly if your hearing loss goes unnoticed and untreated). For the parts of your brain that interprets sound, this can be rather dull. This boredom might not seem like a serious issue, but disuse can actually cause parts of your brain to atrophy or weaken. That can lead to a certain amount of overall stress, which can hinder your memory.
  • Constant strain: Your brain will go through a hyper-activation fatigue, particularly in the early phases of hearing loss. That’s because your brain will be straining to hear what’s going on out in the world, even though there’s no input signal (your brain doesn’t recognize that you’re experiencing hearing loss, it just thinks things are really quiet, so it gives a lot of effort trying to hear in that silent environment). Your brain and your body will be left exhausted. That mental and physical exhaustion often results in memory loss.

Loss of memory is an Early Warning System For Your Body

Memory loss isn’t unique to hearing loss, of course. Physical or mental fatigue or illness, among other things, can cause memory loss. Eating better and sleeping well, for instance, can generally 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.

Those red flags can be helpful if you’re attempting to watch out for hearing loss.

Loss of Memory Frequently Indicates Hearing Loss

The symptoms and signs of hearing loss can frequently be difficult to detect. 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. However, if you begin noticing symptoms associated with memory loss and get an exam early, there’s a good chance you can prevent some damage to your hearing.

Retrieving Your Memory

In situations where your memory has already been impacted by hearing loss, whether it’s through social separation or mental fatigue, treatment of your root hearing problem is the first step in treatment. The brain will be capable of getting back to its regular activity when it stops straining and struggling. It can take several months for your brain to re-adjust to hearing again, so be patient.

Memory loss can be a practical warning that you need to pay attention to the state of your hearing and safeguarding your ears. That’s a lesson to remember as you get older.

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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