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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? If so, it could be an indication of hearing loss. The problem is… you can’t quite remember. And that’s been happening more frequently, too. While you were working yesterday, you couldn’t even remember your new co-worker’s name. You met her recently, but still, it seems like you’re losing your grip on your memory and your hearing. And as you rack your brains, you can only formulate one common cause: you’re getting older.

Now, absolutely, age can be related to both loss of hearing and memory malfunction. But it turns out these two age-associated conditions are also connected to each other. That might sound like bad news at first (you have to cope with hearing loss and memory loss together…great). But the truth is, the link between hearing loss and memory can often be a blessing in disguise.

Memory And Hearing Loss – What’s The Connection?

Your brain starts to become strained from hearing loss 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 is so much of your brain impacted by hearing loss? Well, there are several distinct ways:

  • Constant strain: In the early phases of hearing loss especially, your brain is going to experience a sort of hyper-activation exhaustion. That’s because your brain will be struggling to hear what’s going on out in the world, even though there’s no input signal (it devotes a lot of energy trying to hear because without realizing you have hearing loss, it believes that everything is quiet). This can leave your brain (and your body) feeling tired. That mental and physical fatigue often causes memory loss.
  • It’s becoming quieter: Things will become quieter when your hearing starts to diminish (especially if your hearing loss is overlooked and neglected). This can be, well, kind of boring for the parts of your brain normally responsible for the interpretation of sounds. This boredom may not seem like a serious problem, but lack of use can actually cause parts of your brain to weaken and atrophy. This can affect the performance of all of your brain’s systems and that includes memory.
  • Social isolation: When you have trouble hearing, you’ll likely experience some additional struggles communicating. That can lead some people to isolate themselves. Again, your brain is lacking vital interaction which can lead to memory problems. When those (metaphorical) muscles aren’t used, they start to weaken. Eventually, social separation can lead to depression, anxiety, and memory issues.

Memory Loss is an Early Warning System For Your Body

Memory loss isn’t exclusive to hearing loss, of course. There are lots of things that can cause your memories to begin to get fuzzy, including fatigue and illness (either mental or physical varieties). As an example, eating healthy and sleeping well can help help your memory.

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

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

Memory Loss Frequently Points to Hearing Loss

The symptoms and signs of hearing impairment can frequently be difficult to recognize. Hearing loss doesn’t happen instantly. Harm to your hearing is often worse than you would want by the time you actually observe the symptoms. But if you have your hearing checked soon after detecting some memory loss, you might be able to catch the problem early.

Getting Your Memories Back

In instances where hearing loss has impacted your memory, whether it’s through social isolation or mental fatigue, treatment of your root hearing problem is the first step in treatment. The brain will be able to get back to its normal activity when it stops straining and overworking. It can take several months for your brain to get used to hearing again, so be patient.

The warning signs raised by your memory loss could help you be a little more conscious about protecting your hearing, or at least treating your hearing loss. 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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