Hearing Health Blog

Woman with hearing loss doing dishes because she forgot to turn the dishwasher on.

As of late, Chris has been a little bit forgetful. For two months in a row, she missed her doctor’s appointment and has to reschedule. And before she went to bed she even forgot to run the dishwasher (I guess this morning she will have to handwash her coffee cup). Things have been falling through the cracks. Chris has been feeling mentally exhausted and drained all the time but, strangely, she doesn’t feel forgetful.

It can be hard to recognize that feeling until it’s sneaking up on you. Often, though, the problem isn’t your memory, in spite of how forgetful you might appear. Your hearing is the real issue. And that means you can considerably improve your memory by using one little device.

How to Improve Your Memory And Overall Cognitive Function

So, getting a hearing test is the first measure to enhance your memory so you will not forget that eye exam and not forget anyone’s name at the next meeting. If you have hearing loss a hearing examination will let you know how bad your impairment is.

Chris hasn’t recognized any symptoms of hearing loss yet so she hesitates to schedule an appointment. She doesn’t really have difficulty hearing in a crowded room. And when she’s working, she doesn’t have an issue hearing team members.

But just because her symptoms aren’t apparent doesn’t mean that they aren’t present. In fact, one of the first signs of hearing impairment is memory loss. And it all has to do with brain strain. It works like this:

  • Slowly and virtually imperceptibly, your hearing begins to diminish.
  • Your ears notice a lack of sound, however mild.
  • The sounds that you do hear, need to be boosted and translated which causes your brain to work extra hard.
  • You can’t notice any real difference but in order to comprehend sound your brain needs to work extra hard.

Your brain only has so much processing power which can really be stressed by that sort of strain. So you have less mental energy for things like, well, memory or for other cognitive functions.

Dementia And Hearing Loss

If you take memory loss to its most logical extremes, you may end up looking at something like dementia. And there is a connection between hearing loss and dementia, though there are several other factors involved and the cause and effect relationship is still somewhat murky. Still, individuals with neglected hearing loss, over time, have a higher risk for experiencing cognitive decline, beginning with some moderate memory issues and increasing to more extreme cognitive problems.

Wearing Hearing Aids Can Help You Prevent Fatigue

This is why it’s necessary to treat your hearing loss. According to one study, 97.3% of people who suffer from hearing loss who used hearing aids for at least 18 months showed a significant stabilization or improvement in their cognitive functions.

A variety of other studies have revealed similar benefits. It’s definitely helpful to wear hearing aids. Your general cognitive function improves when your brain doesn’t need to work as hard to hear. Memory loss and problems with cognitive function can have lots of complex factors and hearing aids aren’t always a magic bullet.

Memory Loss Can be The First Sign of Hearing Loss

This sort of memory loss is typically not permanent, it’s a sign of mental fatigue more than a fundamental change in the way your brain functions. But if the underlying concerns are not dealt with, that could change.

So if you’re noticing some loss of memory, it can be an early warning of hearing loss. When you first detect those symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your hearing specialist. Your memory will most likely go back to normal when your underlying hearing concerns are addressed.

As an added benefit, your hearing health will likely improve, too. A hearing aid can help slow the decline in your hearing. In a sense, your overall wellness, not just your memory, could be enhanced by these little devices.

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