Do you have memory loss? Are some of your family members struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, and you’re worried you might be next? As these degenerative diseases becomes more common, especially among the aging population of seniors in America, any sign of memory loss could be an early warning sign of dementia, and be very worrisome for you and your loved ones.
How Memory Loss Affects Your Life
If you have memory loss, you have probably been noticing some effects such as trouble focusing on tasks, or struggling to pick up a project where you left off. You can’t remember important dates or times, and you’ve missed a few appointments in the last months. Your family has to remind you what date it is, and you don’t always remember conversations you’ve had with loved ones.
While all these signs of memory loss are very concerning, it’s possible that this memory loss is actually a sign of hearing loss rather than a sign of dementia.
How Memory and Hearing Loss are Linked
If you have been struggling with memory issues, take a minute to think about your hearing. A study published in the Canadian Journal on Aging analyzed the links between memory and hearing loss, and discovered that over 50% of those with memory loss actually struggled to hear as well. Have you had difficulty focusing on tasks, answering questions appropriately, or remembering something your loved one said to you? These could all be signs of hearing loss! After all, how can you remember what someone told you if you never even heard them?
Dr. Susan Vandermorris, a clinical neuropsychologist at Baycrest and lead author of the study, explains how memory and hearing loss are linked. “We commonly see clients who are worried about Alzheimer’s disease because their partner complains that they don’t seem to pay attention,” explains Dr. Vandermorris. “They don’t seem to listen, or they don’t remember what is said to them. Sometimes addressing hearing loss may mitigate or fix what looks like a memory issue.” It might be a hearing issue rather than a memory issue!
Hearing Health is Brain Health
Hearing health is closely linked to brain health. When you have untreated hearing loss, your brain is suffering. Your ears aren’t able to hear all the sounds around you, and certain parts of the brain responsible for hearing those sounds aren’t being used. You use so much energy just trying to make out the words that you don’t have the energy left over to remember the meaning of what’s been said.
Brain cells that don’t have a job to do often face damage or death, and living with untreated hearing loss leads to rapid cognitive decline, and worse brain health. “Some people may be reluctant to address hearing loss,” explains Dr. Vandermorris, “but they need to be aware that hearing health is brain health and help is available.” Even if your memory loss is a sign of hearing loss rather than dementia, your untreated hearing loss will begin to affect your brain, and increase your chances of developing dementia.
Hearing Loss and Social Isolation
Hearing loss and social isolation are also closely linked, and this can have an effect on your memory. “People who can’t hear well have difficulty communicating and tend to withdraw from social activities as a way of coping,” says Dr. Vandermorris. “This can lead to isolation and loneliness, which can impact cognitive, physical and mental health.” Even though hearing loss could be the real culprit of your memory loss, before long you will be living with both hearing loss and memory loss.
Treat Your Hearing Loss
Do you have hearing loss? Don’t wait another day, but treat your hearing loss and do the right thing for your brain! If you or a loved one seems to have memory loss, schedule a hearing test. You might discover that your memory loss could actually be hearing loss, and treating your hearing will restore your memory, and let you get back to doing the things you love without worrying about forgetting anything important.
Exceptional Hearing Care
If you’re struggling to hear, visit us today at Exceptional Hearing Center. Our team is dedicated to improving your hearing health, and we’ll work with you to make sure you’re hearing clearly, and remembering all the important things in your life. Get back to healthy ears and a healthy brain, and see what hearing aids can do for you!