As of late, Chris has been a little forgetful. She missed her doctor’s appointment two months in a row (time to reschedule again). And she even forgot to run the dishwasher before bed (I guess this morning she will need to handwash her coffee cup). Lately, she’s been allowing things fall through the cracks. Strangely, Chris doesn’t actually feel forgetful…she simply feels mentally drained and fatigued constantly.
It can be hard to put your finger on that feeling until it’s sneaking up on you. Often, though, the issue isn’t your memory, despite how forgetful you might appear. Your hearing is the actual problem. And that means there’s one small device, a hearing aid, that can help you considerably improve your memory.
How to Improve Your Memory And Overall Cognitive Function
So, having a hearing test is the first measure 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 noted any symptoms or signs of hearing loss. She can hear in crowded rooms fairly well enough. And when she’s at work, she doesn’t have a problem hearing team members.
But she could have some amount of hearing loss even though she hasn’t noticed any symptoms yet. Actually, one of the first signs of hearing impairment is loss of memory. And strain on the brain is the base cause. It works like this:
- Gradually and almost imperceptibly, your hearing begins to diminish.
- Your ears detect a lack of sound, however slight.
- Your brain starts working a little bit harder to translate and boost the sounds you are able to hear.
- You can’t notice any real difference but in order to comprehend sound your brain has to work overtime.
That amount of continual strain can be a real drag 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 functions.
Hearing Loss And Dementia
When memory loss is extreme, the result might be dementia. And dementia and hearing loss do have a link, though what the actual cause-effect relationship is, continues to be somewhat uncertain. Still, people who have untreated hearing loss, over time, are at an increased risk for going through cognitive decline, which can begin as memory loss and ultimately (over the years) turn into more severe issues.
Keeping Fatigue Under Control With Hearing Aids
This is why it’s essential to manage your hearing loss. As stated in one study, 97.3% of people with hearing loss who wore hearing aids for at least 18 months showed a significant stabilization or increase in their cognitive functions.
Similar benefits have been seen in several other studies. Hearing aids are really helpful. When your brain doesn’t need to strain quite as hard, your general cognitive function gets better. Memory loss and problems with cognitive function can have numerous complex factors and hearing aids aren’t always a magic bullet.
Memory Loss Can be The First Signal of Hearing Loss
This type of memory loss is usually not permanent, it’s a sign of mental fatigue more than a fundamental change in the way your brain operates. But that can change if the fundamental problems remain un-addressed.
Memory loss, then, can be somewhat of an early warning system. When you first detect those symptoms, you should make an appointment with your hearing professional. Your memory will most likely go back to normal when your underlying hearing problems are addressed.
And your hearing will probably get better as well. A hearing aid can help stem the decline in your hearing. In this way, your general wellness, not just your memory, could be enhanced by these little devices.