Lately, Chris has been a little bit forgetful. For the second month in a row, she missed her doctor’s appointment and has to reschedule. And she even forgot to run the dishwasher before going to bed (looks like she’ll be handwashing her coffee cup this morning). Lately she’s been letting things fall through the cracks. Curiously, Chris doesn’t actually feel forgetful…she simply feels mentally drained and exhausted all the time.
Only after that feeling is sneaking up on you, will you start to realize it. Frequently, though, the problem isn’t your memory, in spite of how forgetful you may appear. The real issue is your hearing. And that means you can substantially improve your memory by using one small device.
How to Improve Your Memory And General Cognitive Function
So, having a hearing test is the first step to improve your memory so you will not forget that eye exam and will remember everyone’s name in the next meeting. If you have hearing loss a hearing exam will alert you to how bad your impairment is.
Chris hesitates, though, because she hasn’t detected any symptoms or signs of hearing loss. She doesn’t really have an issue hearing in a noisy room. And she’s never had a tough time listening to any of her team members at work.
But just because her symptoms aren’t recognizable doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. In fact, one of the first symptoms of hearing impairment is loss of memory. And strain on the brain is the root cause. Here’s how it works:
- Slowly and nearly imperceptibly, your hearing begins to diminish.
- However mild, your ears begin to detect a lack of sound input.
- Your brain starts working a little harder to decipher and boost the sounds you can hear.
- You can’t notice any real difference but in order to make sense of sound your brain has to work overtime.
Your brain only has a limited amount of processing power which can really be dragged down by that sort of burden. So you don’t have as much mental energy for things like, well, memory or for other cognitive processes.
Dementia And Hearing Loss
When memory loss is extreme, the result might be dementia. And dementia and hearing loss do have a connection, though there are a number of other factors at work and the cause and effect relationship is still fairly murky. Still, there is an elevated risk of cognitive decline in individuals who have untreated hearing loss, beginning with some minor memory loss and escalating to more serious cognitive problems.
Hearing Aids And Fending Off Fatigue
That’s the reason why dealing with your hearing loss is essential. According to one study, 97.3% of people with hearing loss who wore hearing aids for at least 18 months showed a marked stabilization or improvement in their cognitive functions.
Similar results have been seen in a variety of other studies. Hearing aids really help. When your brain doesn’t have to work quite as hard, your overall cognitive function improves. Sure, a hearing aid isn’t a memory panacea, memory problems and cognitive decline can be a complex combination of factors and variables.
The First Sign of Hearing Loss is Frequently Memory Loss
This type of memory loss is almost always not permanent, it’s an indication of exhaustion more than an underlying change in the way your brain operates. But if the root issues are not addressed, that can change.
Memory loss, then, can be somewhat of an early warning system. You should make an appointment with your hearing specialist as soon as you detect these symptoms. Your memory will probably go back to normal when your fundamental hearing issues are dealt with.
As an added bonus, your hearing health will most likely improve, as well. A hearing aid can help stem the decline in your hearing. In a sense, your total wellness, not just your memory, could be enhanced by these little devices.