Hearing Aids and Your Memory - A Healthy Connection

Hearing Aids and Your Memory - A Healthy Connection

 

Fond recollections of loved ones and special times over the years have systematically been stored into pockets of cognitive recall deep inside the brain. These are more commonly known as memories. The actual science of how memories are created is a long discussion. However, it is important to understand that hearing aids and your memory may have more of a connection than you know. 

The link between untreated hearing loss and dementia extends to other serious threats that affect brain health such as depression, social isolation, and Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, it stands to reason that the process of “creating” new memories is distinctly linked to the ability to hear and understand those precious moments that eventually become memories. For those that wear hearing aids, these threats can be more easily controlled or even stopped.

The evidence is mounting that suggests a person's memory and hearing may be linked. In fact, the evidence is showing that those who are trying hard to listen and make sense of what’s being said do poorly at remembering what’s said. 

It almost seems that the brain shifts its resources in order to comprehend real-time speech, leaving very little to file away what’s been said. Experts call this ‘Cognitive Load’ and it can be described as similar to streaming video on a slow Internet connection. In other words, it sorta works, sometimes – but the results are choppy and nearly useless at best.

Hearing aid technology has advanced by leaps and bounds and nowadays even people with hearing loss using the so-called “cheap” hearing aids are still able to hear more clearly in most day-to-day activities than they could before wearing their hearing devices. With even a limited degree of assisted hearing, the ability to reconnect socially and emotionally improves exponentially.

Here are 10 tips for reducing your brain’s cognitive load and increasing the speed of your connection with friends and family: 
 

  • Get your hearing tested if you suspect it’s not as acute as it used to be. It is always best to have your hearing tested by a doctor. If you are considering hearing aids and can't afford a hearing test, you can use our Online Hearing Check to gauge the severity of your hearing loss. However, please realize that our online hearing check is not the same as a diagnosis from a doctor.
     

  • If you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and hearing aids aren't something you've considered, please do give hearing aids a try to maximize your hearing capabilities. As mentioned above, this is true for other types of memory loss, dementia, depression, and social isolation as well.
     

  • Keep your activities separated so you can concentrate on one thing at a time; cooking the meal while you're trying to carry on a conversation and clean the house makes it difficult to focus on a conversation and remember what was said.
     

  • Take a deep breath and try to relax. Find a quiet spot and take a break from the noise.
     

  • Remind yourself that it’s not necessary to understand every spoken word. Use your eyes to pick up non-verbal visual cues to reinforce what being said. Instead of asking people to repeat, ask them to rephrase. Oftentimes it's only one word that makes the difference between understanding and not.
     

  • Trying to hide a disability is stressful. Therefore, talk about your hearing loss and explain your situation to others so that they know you might not understand everything they say.
     

  • Keep in mind that others don’t judge you by your disabilities but by how well you overcome them.
     

  • Avoid being frustrated by people with soft voices in noisy environments, either find a quieter place to have a conversation or move on.
     

  • Familiarize yourself with your hearing aid controls, and know which settings are best in noisy environments.
     

  • Reduce the chances of a hearing aid failing at the worst possible time with prior proper maintenance. Also, always remember to recharge your battery or, if you're using a battery-operated hearing aid, use fresh batteries. 

By finding ways of reducing self-imposed stress and finding solutions to the things you can control when it comes to hearing better, your quality of life will improve.

In choosing a hearing aid, you'll have options between a variety of hearing aid models, ranging from rechargeable models that don't require batteries to models that you can operate using your smartphone! And all of them are made to fit into your budget. 

If you are considering hearing aids but you're not sure which hearing aid is right for you, contact us at 1 (800) 804-0434 and we will be happy to offer advice on the advanced, affordable hearing aid that will best suit your level of hearing loss.