Chris has been slightly forgetful recently. For two months in a row, she forgot her doctor’s appointment and has to reschedule. 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 allowing things fall through the cracks. Oddly, Chris doesn’t necessarily feel forgetful…she simply feels mentally drained and fatigued constantly.
Only when that feeling is sneaking up on you, will you begin to recognize it. But in spite of how forgetful you may feel, the trouble isn’t actually about memory. The real issue is your hearing. And that means there’s one small device, a hearing aid, that can help you substantially improve your memory.
How to Improve Your Memory And General Cognitive Function
So, the first step you can take to improve your memory, to get everybody’s name right at your next meeting or to make sure you schedule that day off for your dentist appointment, is to get your hearing checked. A standard hearing examination will be able to determine if you have hearing loss and how bad any impairment may be.
Chris hesitates, though, because she hasn’t detected any signs or symptoms of hearing loss. She doesn’t really have an issue hearing in a crowded room. And she’s never had a tough time listening to any of her team members at work.
But just because her symptoms aren’t obvious doesn’t mean that they aren’t present. Actually, one of the first symptoms of hearing impairment is memory loss. And it all involves brain strain. Here’s how it works:
- Gradually and nearly imperceptibly, your hearing begins to diminish.
- Your ears notice a lack of sound, however slight.
- The sounds that you do hear, need to be boosted and translated which causes your brain to work extra hard.
- You can’t notice any real difference but in order to make sense of sound your brain needs to work extra hard.
Your brain only has so much processing power which can really be stressed by that type 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 may end up looking at something like dementia. And there is a link between hearing loss and dementia, though there are several other factors at work and the cause and effect relationship continues to be fairly murky. Still, there is an elevated risk of cognitive decline with people who have neglected hearing loss, beginning with some minor memory loss and increasing to more extreme cognitive problems.
Keeping Fatigue Under Control With Hearing Aids
This is why it’s essential to treat your hearing loss. As stated in one study, 97.3% of individuals with hearing loss who wore hearing aids for at least 18 months showed a noticeable stabilization or increase in their cognitive abilities.
A variety of other studies have demonstrated similar benefits. It’s definitely helpful to wear hearing aids. Your general cognitive function gets better when your brain doesn’t need to struggle as hard to hear. Memory loss and issues with cognitive function can have lots of complex factors and hearing aids aren’t always a magic bullet.
The First Symptom of Hearing Loss is Often Memory Loss
This kind of memory loss is mostly because of mental exhaustion and is usually temporary. But that can change if the fundamental problems remain un-addressed.
Memory loss, then, can be something of an early warning system. You should schedule 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 go back to normal.
And your hearing will probably get better also. A hearing aid can help stop the decline in your hearing. In a sense, your general wellness, not just your memory, could be enhanced by these little devices.