How Hearing Loss Impacts Your Memory

man sitting for hearing test

Have you found that you’ve been turning the volume up on your TV recently, or have been straining to catch what other people have been saying in group conversations?

If so, it’s quite clear that these sorts of events might be a symptom of hearing loss. But if you can’t quite remember whether or not you’ve been turning the volume up more often or having difficulty hearing certain things over the course of everyday life, that might signal a deeper issue overall – memory issues combined with hearing loss.

For many individuals who experience both hearing loss and apparent deficits in their memory, it seems natural to chalk these two events up to getting older.

While getting older certainly can contribute to both hearing loss and memory issues, however, the sobering truth is that memory issues may develop because of hearing loss. If the two are occurring together, there’s a good chance that your hearing loss is impacting the state of your memory significantly.

At first glance, this can seem like a particularly worrying and negative development. In fact, however, the connection between hearing loss and memory may actually be something of a blessing in disguise – because it means that addressing the hearing loss can go a long way towards reversing the memory issues you may be experiencing.

How Exactly Are Hearing Loss and Memory Connected?

The ways in which hearing loss can negatively impact memory are multifaceted and encompass several different developments. Firstly, the basic fact that you are experiencing hearing loss can result in your brain being put under a greater degree of strain, in its attempt to understand and parse out everything that’s happening in your vicinity.

A sort of spillover effect can occur, where the strain associated with struggling to hear ends up impacting other areas of the brain and causing deficits in understanding and performance which can spread far beyond hearing itself.

Here are a few of the ways in which your brain ends up being impacted as a result of hearing loss:

  • Ongoing strain: Particularly in the early stages of hearing loss, your brain is likely to experience a kind of hyper-active exhaustion, as a result of struggling to understand your surroundings with impaired input. This exhaustion can, by itself, cause memory loss.
  • Reduced stimulation: With less information reaching your brain from your surroundings, parts of the brain involved in interpreting that information may end up essentially atrophying due to a lack of stimulation.
  • Social isolation: Many people who experience hearing loss end up becoming more socially withdrawn, since social interaction ends up becoming more stressful and effortful as a result of difficulty communicating. Ultimately, however, we are all highly dependent on regular social interaction and stimulation, not only to maintain a good baseline level of wellbeing, but also to keep us engaged mentally. When deprived of social interaction and engagement, you are more at risk of depression and anxiety, which can end up negatively impacting your memory.

Memory Loss and Hearing Loss: Signs to Take Notice of

There are a variety of different things that can end up contributing to memory loss, ranging from fatigue and a lack of restful sleep to various types of illness, an unhealthy diet and more. Memory loss certainly isn’t exclusively associated with hearing loss, but whatever the cause underlying it, it’s important to take hearing loss seriously and to investigate potential causes.

At the same time, memory loss and hearing loss are often interconnected, and if you are experiencing both at once it’s particularly important to take steps to address your hearing loss as soon as possible.

Hearing loss, like memory loss, typically doesn’t appear suddenly, but develops gradually over time. Be on the lookout for tell-tale signs that you might be experiencing memory loss, such as frequently having to ask people to repeat things or needing to turn up the volume on the TV.

Addressing Hearing Loss Can Restore Memory

When your hearing loss has negatively impacted your memory, it’s very important to know that treating your hearing loss effectively can work wonders when it comes to restoring your memory and alleviating the memory loss you are experiencing in general.

When your hearing loss has been addressed by a hearing aid, with the help of an audiologist, your brain will be able to resume its normal activity while simultaneously getting a much-needed break from over-straining. It can take several months of hearing correction for your brain to adjust to your hearing aid and for the benefits to your memory to become apparent.

If you want to learn more about hearing loss treatment, contact the team at Albuquerque Hearing and Balance by calling us today at (505) 750-9569.