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

Did you turn up the TV last night? If you did, it may be a sign of hearing loss. The challenge is… you can’t quite remember. And that’s starting become more of a problem recently. You couldn’t even remember the name of your new co-worker when you were at work yesterday. Yes, you just met her but your memory and your hearing seem to be faltering. And as you think about it, you can only formulate one common cause: you’re getting older.

Now, absolutely, age can be related to both loss of hearing and memory failure. But it’s even more relevant that these two can also be connected to each other. At first, that might seem like bad news (you have to cope with hearing loss and memory loss together…great). But the truth is, the connection between hearing loss and memory can often be a blessing in disguise.

The Link Between Memory And Hearing Loss

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? Well, there are several distinct ways:

  • Social isolation: When you have trouble hearing, you’ll probably encounter some additional challenges communicating. That can lead some individuals to isolate themselves. And isolation can lead to memory issues because, once again, your brain isn’t getting as much interaction as it used to. The brain will keep getting weaker the less it’s used. In the long run, social separation can lead to anxiety, depression, and memory issues.
  • It’s getting quieter: Things will get quieter when your hearing begins to diminish (this is especially true if your hearing loss is neglected). For the parts of your brain that interprets sound, this can be rather dull. This boredom might not appear to be a serious issue, but lack of use can actually cause portions of your brain to atrophy or weaken. This can affect the function of all of your brain’s systems including memory.
  • Constant strain: In the early stages of hearing loss especially, your brain is going to experience a sort of hyper-activation fatigue. This happens because, even though there’s no external input signal, your brain strains to hear what’s happening in the world (your brain doesn’t know that you’re experiencing hearing loss, it just thinks things are very quiet, so it gives a lot of energy trying to hear in that quiet environment). This can leave your brain (and your body) feeling tired. Memory loss and other issues can be the outcome.

Loss of memory is an Early Warning System For Your Body

Clearly, having hearing loss isn’t the only thing that leads to memory loss. Physical or mental fatigue or illness, among other things, can trigger loss of memory. Eating better and sleeping well, for example, can usually increase your memory.

This can be a case of your body putting up red flags. The red flags come out when things aren’t working right. And one of those red flags is forgetting what your friend said yesterday.

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

Hearing Loss is Commonly Related to Loss of Memory

The signs and symptoms of hearing impairment can often be difficult to notice. Hearing loss doesn’t happen over night. Once you actually recognize the associated symptoms, the damage to your hearing is usually farther along than most hearing specialists would want. However, if you begin to notice symptoms associated with memory loss and get checked out early, there’s a strong possibility you can avoid some damage to your hearing.

Retrieving Your Memory

In situations where your memory has already been impacted by hearing loss, either via mental exhaustion or social separation, treatment of your root hearing problem is step one in treatment. The brain will be able to get back to its normal activity when it stops straining and overworking. Be patient, it can take a bit for your brain to adjust to hearing again.

The warning signs raised by your loss of memory could help you be a little more aware of protecting your hearing, or at least treating your hearing loss. That’s a lesson to remember as you get older.

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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.

Medical information dates as new research comes out all the time - if you have a concern about your hearing, please call us.

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