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

Chris has been slightly forgetful lately. She forgot her doctor’s appointment two months in a row (time to reschedule again). And she even overlooked running the dishwasher before bedtime (I guess this morning she will need to handwash her coffee cup). Lately she’s been allowing things slip through the cracks. Curiously, Chris doesn’t actually feel forgetful…she simply feels mentally drained and fatigued all the time.

Only after that feeling is sneaking up on you, will you start to realize it. Often, though, the problem isn’t your memory, in spite of how forgetful you might appear. Your hearing is the actual problem. And that means you can substantially improve your memory by using one small device.

How to Improve Your Memory And General Cognitive Function

So, step one to improving your memory, and getting everybody’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. If you have hearing loss a hearing examination will let you know how bad your impairment is.

Chris hasn’t recognized any symptoms of hearing loss yet so she hesitates to make an appointment. She can hear in noisy rooms fairly well enough. And when she’s at work, she doesn’t have a problem hearing team members.

But just because her symptoms aren’t apparent doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. In fact, one of the first symptoms of hearing impairment is loss of memory. And strain on the brain is the underlying cause. It works like this:

  • Your hearing starts to diminish, perhaps so gradually you don’t realize.
  • Your ears notice a lack of sound, however mild.
  • The sounds that you can hear, need to be amplified and interpreted which makes your brain work extra hard.
  • Everything feels normal, but it takes more work from your brain to make sense of the sounds.

That type of continual strain can be really difficult on your brain’s finite resources. So you don’t have as much mental energy for things like, well, memory or for other cognitive processes.

Dementia And Hearing Loss

When loss of memory is extreme, the result could be dementia. And hearing loss and dementia do have a connection, though what the precise cause-effect relationship is, remains somewhat uncertain. Still, there is an elevated danger of cognitive decline with individuals who have untreated hearing loss, which can start as memory loss and ultimately (over the years) develop into more severe issues.

Keeping Fatigue in Check Using Hearing Aids

That’s why managing your hearing loss is necessary. Marked improvement of cognitive function was observed in 97.3% of individuals with hearing loss who used hearing aids for at least 18 months according to one study.

Various other studies have demonstrated similar results. Hearing aids are really helpful. Your general cognitive function gets better when your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear. Sure, a hearing aid isn’t an absolute cure, cognitive decline or memory problems can be a complicated mixture of causes and variables.

The First Sign of Hearing Loss is Often Memory Loss

This type of memory loss is mostly a function of mental fatigue and is usually temporary. But that can change if the fundamental problems remain un-addressed.

Loss of memory, then, can be somewhat of an early warning system. You should schedule an appointment with your hearing professional as soon as you notice these symptoms. Your memory will most likely go back to normal when your fundamental hearing issues are dealt with.

As an added benefit, your hearing health will likely get better, too. The decline in your hearing will be slowed dramatically by wearing hearing aids. In a sense, your overall wellness, not just your memory, could be improved by these little devices.

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