Chris has been slightly forgetful as of late. She missed her doctor’s appointment for the second month in a row (time to reschedule again). And before she went to bed she even overlooked running the dishwasher (looks like this morning she will need to handwash her coffee cup). Lately she’s been letting things fall through the cracks. Chris has been feeling mentally exhausted and depleted all the time but, strangely, she doesn’t feel forgetful.
Only when that feeling is sneaking up on you, will you begin to recognize it. But in spite of how forgetful you may feel, the issue isn’t really about memory. Your hearing is the actual issue. And that means there’s one small device, a hearing aid, that can help you substantially improve your memory.
How to Enhance Your Memory And General Cognitive Function
So, step one to improving your memory, to get everybody’s name right at your next meeting or to make sure you schedule that day off for your dentist appointment, is to get your hearing checked. If you have hearing loss a hearing exam will alert you to how severe your impairment is.
Chris hesitates, though, because she hasn’t observed any signs or symptoms of hearing loss. She can hear in crowded rooms fairly well enough. And she’s never had a difficult time hearing any of her team members at work.
But just because her symptoms aren’t obvious doesn’t mean that they aren’t present. In fact, one of the first symptoms of hearing impairment is loss of memory. And strain on the brain is the root cause. It works like this:
- Your hearing begins to diminish, probably so slowly you don’t notice.
- However slight, your ears begin to notice a lack of sound input.
- The sounds that you do hear, have to be amplified and interpreted which causes your brain to work extra hard.
- Everything seems to be normal, but it takes more effort from your brain to make sense of the sounds.
That type of continuous strain can be really difficult on your brain’s finite resources. So you don’t have as much mental energy for things such as, well, memory or for other cognitive processes.
Dementia And Hearing Loss
If you take memory loss to its most obvious extremes, you may end up looking at something like dementia. And hearing loss and dementia do have a link, though there are several other factors at work and the cause and effect relationship continues to be rather uncertain. Still, there is an elevated risk of cognitive decline with people who have untreated hearing loss, beginning with some mild memory issues and increasing to more extreme cognitive problems.
Hearing Aids And Preventing Fatigue
This is why it’s important to deal with your hearing loss. Marked improvement in cognitive function was observed in 97.3% of people with hearing loss who used hearing aids for at least 18 months according to one study.
A variety of other research has demonstrated similar results. Hearing aids really help. Your overall cognitive function gets better when your brain doesn’t need to work as hard to hear. Sure, a hearing aid isn’t a memory panacea, memory problems and cognitive decline can be a complicated mixture of factors and variables.
Memory Loss Can be The First Signal of Hearing Loss
This type of memory loss is usually not permanent, it’s an indication of exhaustion more than an underlying change in how your brain functions. But if the root problems are not addressed, that can change.
So if you’re observing some loss of memory, it can be an early sign of hearing loss. When you first begin to notice those symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your hearing specialist. As soon as your fundamental hearing issues are addressed, your memory should return to normal.
As an added bonus, your hearing health will most likely get better, too. A hearing aid can help stop the decline in your hearing. In this way, your overall wellness, not just your memory, could be improved by these little devices.