Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

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 might be an indication of hearing loss if you did. But you can’t quite remember and that’s an issue. And that’s been happening more frequently, too. While working yesterday, you weren’t able to remember your new co-worker’s name. You met her recently, but still, it seems like you’re losing your grip on your hearing and your memory. And as you rack your brains, you can only come up with one common cause: aging.

Now, absolutely, age can be related to both hearing loss and memory failure. But it turns out these two age-associated symptoms are also related to one another. That may sound like bad news initially (not only do you have to cope with hearing loss, you have to work around your waning memory too, wonderful). But there can be unseen positives to this connection.

Memory And Hearing Loss – What’s The Link?

Hearing loss can be straining for your brain in a number of ways long before you recognize the decrease in your hearing. 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 such a large part of your brain? Well, there are a few distinct ways:

  • Social isolation: Communication will become strained when you have a difficult time hearing. Social isolation will often be the outcome, And isolation can lead to memory issues because, once again, your brain isn’t getting as much interaction as it used to. When those (metaphorical) muscles aren’t used, they begin to weaken. Over time, social separation can lead to anxiety, depression, and memory problems.
  • Constant strain: Your brain will undergo a hyper-activation fatigue, especially in the early phases of hearing loss. That’s because your brain will be struggling to hear what’s taking place 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 thinks that everything is quiet). Your brain as well as your body will be left exhausted. Memory loss and other issues can be the outcome.
  • 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). For the parts of your brain that interprets sound, this can be rather dull. This boredom might not seem like a serious problem, but disuse can actually cause portions of your brain to weaken and atrophy. That can lead to a certain degree of generalized stress, which can interfere with your memory.

Your Body Has An Early Warning System – It’s Called Memory Loss

Memory loss isn’t unique to hearing loss, naturally. Physical or mental fatigue or illness, among other things, can cause loss of memory. As an example, eating right and sleeping well can help improve 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 failing to remember what your friend said yesterday.

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

Hearing Loss is Commonly Linked to Memory Loss

It’s frequently difficult to detect the early symptoms and signs of hearing loss. Hearing loss doesn’t develop over night. Harm to your hearing is usually further along than you would like by the time you actually observe the symptoms. But if you get your hearing checked soon after noticing some memory loss, you may be able to catch the problem early.

Retrieving Your Memory

In situations where your memory has already been impacted by hearing loss, whether it’s through social isolation or mental fatigue, the first step is to treat the root hearing issue. When your brain stops overworking and over stressing, it’ll be capable of returning to its regular 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 memory loss could help you be a little more aware of protecting your hearing, or at least treating your hearing loss. As the years start to add up, that’s definitely a lesson worth remembering.

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