American Hearing & Audiology - Conway, AR

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

Lately, Chris has been a little bit forgetful. She forgot her doctor’s appointment two months in a row (time to reschedule again). And before she went to bed she even forgot to run the dishwasher (looks as if she’ll be handwashing her coffee cup this morning). Lately she’s been letting things fall through the cracks. Oddly, Chris doesn’t necessarily feel forgetful…she just feels mentally drained and fatigued constantly.

It can be challenging to recognize that feeling until it’s sneaking up on you. Frequently, though, the problem isn’t your memory, despite how forgetful you may appear. The real issue is your hearing. And that means there’s one little device, a hearing aid, that can help you substantially improve your memory.

How to Enhance Your Memory And General Cognitive Function

So, the first step you can take to improve your memory, and getting everybody’s name right at your next meeting or to make sure you schedule that day off for your dentist appointment, is to have your hearing tested. A hearing screening will be able to determine if you have hearing loss and how bad any impairment may be.

Chris hasn’t noticed any signs of hearing loss yet so she hesitates to make an appointment. She doesn’t really have an issue hearing in a crowded room. And when she’s at work, she doesn’t have an issue hearing team members.

But just because her symptoms aren’t noticeable doesn’t mean that they aren’t present. Actually, one of the first symptoms of hearing impairment is loss of memory. And it all involves brain strain. Here’s how it works:

  • Your hearing begins to fade, probably so slowly you don’t notice.
  • Your ears notice a lack of sound, however mild.
  • Your brain begins working a little harder to interpret and boost the sounds you are able to hear.
  • Everything feels normal, but it takes more effort on your brain’s part to comprehend the sounds.

Your brain only has a limited amount of processing power which can really be dragged down by that type of burden. So things like memory and cognitive function take a back seat.

Dementia And Hearing Loss

If you take memory loss to its most logical extremes, you could end up looking at something like dementia. And there is a connection between hearing loss and dementia, though there are numerous other factors involved and the cause and effect relationship is still fairly murky. Still, there is an elevated risk of cognitive decline with those who have neglected hearing loss, which can begin as memory loss and ultimately (over the years) become more serious problems.

Keeping Fatigue in Check Using Hearing Aids

That’s why managing your hearing loss is crucial. Significant improvement of cognitive function was noted in 97.3% of people with hearing loss who used hearing aids for at least 18 months according to one study.

Similar benefits have been seen in a variety of other studies. It’s unquestionably helpful to wear hearing aids. When your brain doesn’t have to work quite as hard, your general cognitive function improves. Memory loss and issues with cognitive function can have lots of intricate factors and hearing aids aren’t always a magic bullet.

The First Sign of Hearing Loss is Frequently Memory Loss

This type of memory loss is almost always temporary, it’s an indication of mental fatigue more than a fundamental change in how your brain operates. But if the root problems are not dealt with, that can change.

So if you’re noticing some loss of memory, it can be an early sign of hearing loss. When you first observe those symptoms, you should make an appointment with your hearing specialist. Your memory will most likely return to normal when your fundamental hearing issues are addressed.

And your hearing will probably get better also. A hearing aid can help slow the decline in your hearing. These little devices, in a sense, will enhance your overall health not just your hearing.

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