Chris has been a bit forgetful as of late. 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 (I guess this morning she will have to handwash her coffee cup). Things have been falling through the cracks. Oddly, Chris doesn’t actually feel forgetful…she simply feels mentally drained and fatigued constantly.
It can be difficult to recognize that feeling until it’s sneaking up on you. Frequently, though, the problem isn’t your memory, in spite of how forgetful you might appear. The real problem is your hearing. And that means you can substantially improve your memory by using one small device.
How to Enhance Your Memory And General Cognitive Function
So, step one to improving your memory, and getting everyone’s name right at your next meeting or to make sure you plan that day off for your dentist appointment, is to have your hearing checked. If you have hearing loss a hearing exam will let you know 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 somewhat well enough. And she’s never had a difficult time hearing any of her team members at work.
But she could have some degree of hearing loss even though she hasn’t noticed any symptoms yet. In fact, one of the first signs of hearing impairment is memory loss. And strain on the brain is the root cause. It works like this:
- Slowly and almost imperceptibly, your hearing begins to fade.
- Your ears notice a lack of sound, however mild.
- Your brain begins working a little harder to decipher and amplify the sounds you are able to hear.
- You can’t detect any real difference but in order to make sense of sound your brain has to work extra hard.
That type of constant strain can be really difficult 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 processes.
Dementia And Hearing Loss
When memory loss is extreme, the result might be dementia. And dementia and hearing loss do have a link, though there are several other factors at work and the cause and effect relationship continues to be fairly uncertain. Still, those with neglected hearing loss, over time, have a higher risk for going through cognitive decline, which can start as memory loss and eventually (over the years) turn into more severe problems.
Wearing Hearing Aids Can Help You Avoid Fatigue
That’s why managing your hearing loss is crucial. As stated in one study, 97.3% of those with hearing loss who used hearing aids for at least 18 months showed a marked stabilization or increase in their cognitive functions.
Similar benefits have been noted in a variety of other studies. Hearing aids really help. When your brain doesn’t have to work quite as hard, your general cognitive function gets better. Sure, a hearing aid isn’t an absolute cure, cognitive decline or memory problems can be a complicated mix of causes and variables.
The First Sign of Hearing Loss is Often Memory Loss
This kind of memory loss is mostly a function of mental exhaustion and is usually temporary. But that can change if the underlying issues remain un-addressed.
Memory loss, then, can be somewhat of an early warning system. You should make an appointment with your hearing specialist as soon as you notice these symptoms. Your memory will likely go back to normal when your fundamental hearing problems are dealt with.
And your hearing will most likely get better as well. A hearing aid can help slow the decline in your hearing. These little devices, in this way, will improve your total health not only your hearing.