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HEARING TIPS

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

As of late, Chris has been a little bit forgetful. 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 forgot to run the dishwasher (looks like this morning she will need to handwash her coffee cup). Lately, she’s been letting things slip through the cracks. Strangely, Chris doesn’t necessarily feel forgetful…she just feels mentally depleted and fatigued constantly.

Only after that feeling is sneaking up on you, will you start to recognize it. Often, though, the issue isn’t your memory, despite how forgetful you might appear. Your hearing is the real problem. And that means there’s one little device, a hearing aid, that can help you substantially improve your memory.

How to Improve Your Memory And Overall Cognitive Function

So, step one to improving your memory, and getting everyone’s name right at your next meeting or to make sure you schedule that day off for your eye exam, is to get your hearing checked. A typical hearing assessment will be able to figure out if you have hearing loss and how severe any impairment may be.

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

But just because her symptoms aren’t noticeable doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Actually, one of the first signs of hearing impairment is loss of memory. And it all has to do with brain strain. This is how it works:

  • Slowly and nearly imperceptibly, your hearing begins to diminish.
  • Your ears notice a lack of sound, however slight.
  • Your brain starts working a little bit harder to decipher and amplify the sounds you can hear.
  • You can’t detect any real difference but in order to make sense of sound your brain has to work overtime.

Your brain only has a limited amount of processing power which can really be dragged down by that kind of strain. So you have less mental energy for things such as, well, memory or for other cognitive functions.

Hearing Loss And Dementia

If you take loss of memory to its most obvious extremes, you might end up looking at something like dementia. And there is a connection between dementia and hearing loss, though what the specific cause-effect relationship is, remains rather unknown. Still, there is an increased danger of cognitive decline with individuals who have neglected hearing loss, which can start as memory loss and eventually (over the years) develop into more serious concerns.

Hearing Aids And Warding Off Fatigue

This is why it’s worthwhile to deal with your hearing loss. As stated in one study, 97.3% of individuals who suffer from hearing loss who wore hearing aids for at least 18 months showed a marked stabilization or increase in their cognitive abilities.

Various other research has shown similar benefits. It’s unquestionably helpful to wear hearing aids. When your brain doesn’t need to work quite as hard, your total cognitive function gets better. Sure, a hearing aid isn’t a memory panacea, cognitive decline or memory problems can be a complicated mix of factors and variables.

The First Symptom of Hearing Loss is Often Memory Loss

This type of memory loss is almost always not permanent, it’s a sign of exhaustion more than an underlying change in how your brain operates. But that can change if the underlying problems remain un-addressed.

Loss of memory, then, can be somewhat of an early warning system. You should make an appointment with your hearing specialist as soon as you recognize these symptoms. As soon as your fundamental hearing problems are addressed, your memory should return to normal.

And your hearing will probably get better as well. A hearing aid can help slow the decline in your hearing. These little devices, in this way, will improve your overall health not just your hearing.

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