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

Chris has been slightly forgetful as of late. For two months in a row, she forgot her doctor’s appointment and needs to reschedule. And before she went to bed she even overlooked running the dishwasher (I guess this morning she will have to handwash her coffee cup). Things have been getting lost lately. Curiously, Chris doesn’t actually feel forgetful…she simply feels mentally depleted and fatigued all the time.

It can be hard to put your finger on that feeling until it’s sneaking up on you. 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 General Cognitive Function And Memory

So, the first step you can take to improve 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. If you have hearing loss a hearing test will alert you to how severe your impairment is.

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 difficult time hearing any of her team members at work.

But she might have some degree of hearing loss despite the fact that she hasn’t noticed any symptoms yet. Actually, one of the first symptoms of hearing impairment is loss of memory. And strain on the brain is the base cause. It works like this:

  • Gradually and virtually imperceptibly, your hearing begins to fade.
  • Your ears detect a lack of sound, however mild.
  • The sounds that you do hear, need to be amplified and translated which makes your brain work extra hard.
  • You can’t notice any real difference but in order to comprehend sound your brain needs to work extra hard.

Your brain only has so much processing power which can really be stressed by that sort of strain. So things like memory and cognitive function get pushed to the back.

Dementia And Hearing Loss

If you take memory loss to its most logical extremes, you may end up dealing with something like dementia. And there is a link between hearing loss and dementia, though there are a number of other factors at work and the cause and effect relationship continues to be rather uncertain. Still, individuals with untreated hearing loss, over time, are at an increased risk for experiencing cognitive decline, starting with some minor memory loss and escalating to more severe cognitive issues.

Keeping Fatigue Under Control With Hearing Aids

This is why it’s crucial to treat your hearing loss. Marked improvement in cognitive function was noted in 97.3% of individuals with hearing loss who used hearing aids for at least 18 months according to one study.

Numerous other research has demonstrated similar results. It’s definitely helpful to wear hearing aids. Your general cognitive function increases when your brain doesn’t have to struggle as hard to hear. Memory loss and issues with cognitive function can have many complex factors and hearing aids aren’t always a magic bullet.

The First Symptom of Hearing Loss is Frequently Memory Loss

This sort of memory loss is almost always temporary, it’s a sign of mental fatigue more than an underlying change in the way your brain operates. But if the fundamental issues are not dealt with, that can change.

Memory loss, 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 probably return to normal when your underlying hearing concerns are addressed.

As an added bonus, your hearing health will most likely improve, too. The decline in your hearing will be slowed substantially by using hearing aids. In this way, your overall wellness, not just your memory, could be improved by these little devices.

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