Memory Is An Early Warning System For Your Body
Memory loss isnt unique to hearing loss, of course. There are plenty of things that can cause your recollections to start getting fuzzy, including illness or fatigue . Eating better and sleeping well, for example, can often improve your memory.
In this way, memory is kind of like the canary in the coalmine for your body. Your brain starts raising red flags when things arent working properly. And having difficulty recalling who said what in yesterdays meeting is one of those red flags.
Those red flags can be useful if youre trying to keep an eye out for hearing loss.
Loss Of Memory Often Indicates Hearing Loss
Its often difficult to detect the early signs and symptoms of hearing loss. Hearing loss is one of those slowly advancing afflictions. Once you actually recognize the associated symptoms, the damage to your hearing is generally more advanced than most hearing specialists would like. However, if you start noticing symptoms connected to memory loss and get checked out early, theres a good chance you can avoid some damage to your hearing.
Symptoms Of Memory Loss Could Actually Be Hearing Loss
As you know, hearing loss affects far more than your ability to follow conversations. If you have hearing loss, you might have a hard time focusing on tasks, keeping your balance, or localizing the sounds around you. Those with hearing loss are also more prone to trips, slips, and falls, and have far higher rates of hospitalization. Hearing loss has even been linked to social isolation and depression. Furthermore, hearing loss affects the brain as well! If you think your loved one has memory loss, encourage them to get a hearing test. Its possible that their apparent memory loss is actually a sign of hearing loss.
Linking Memory and Hearing Loss
A loved one with memory loss can be a frightening thing. We all know that dementia and Alzheimers disease are becoming more common, and were worried that our loved ones might have the early warning signs of this degenerative brain disease. A recent Baycrest study published in the Canadian Journal on Aging looked at the links between memory and hearing, and found that more than 50% of those who had the early signs of memory loss, such as difficulty focusing, answering questions inappropriately, or confusing dates and times, also had hearing loss. They discovered that these symptoms werent necessarily a sign of memory loss, but of hearing loss!
How Hearing Loss Affects the Brain
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Could Hearing Loss Cause Dementia
Neither prior studies nor the new one offer firm proof that hearing loss is a cause of dementia. In fact, its not clear yet what actually causes Alzheimers disease or some other types of dementia.
The new study was observationalmeaning it looked only at data on existing health outcomes, rather than testing the effects of a hearing aid. So, while it found a pattern, it couldn’t establish that hearing problems actually cause dementia.
And, say researchers, a number of other factors could have influenced the outcome of the study. For instance, the researchers werent able to factor in socioeconomic status in their analysis. That’s important because people with more education and economic resources have been found to be less likely to experience cognitive decline as they age.
For scientists to be able to say definitively that hearing loss is a cause of dementia, a randomized controlled trial is needed, comparing similar groups of people, some of whom have their hearing loss treated with a hearing aid, and some who dont.
Deal and her research team are currently conducting one such trial, so she hopes to be able to answer this question within a few years.
How Hearing Loss Affects Your Memory
Could hearing loss be making you forgetful? Find out how and why hearing loss affects your memory function now.
Its common knowledge that unresolved hearing loss can have an impact on stress and anxiety levels, but did you know it can affect your memory too? Memory loss is just one of the side effects of reduced hearing function, but it is one of the most important.As well as having a significant impact on your confidence and day-to-day lifestyle, memory loss can often be misinterpreted as the onset of dementia. If you develop age-related hearing loss, for example, a subsequent reduction in memory function may not automatically be linked to hearing issues. However, theres a good chance that your hearing loss is impacting your ability to retain and recall information.
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Effects Of Hearing Loss On The Brain
There are decades of research examining the connections between hearing loss and cognitive impairmentâproblems with memory and confusion that can be the initial stages of dementia. Specifically, many scentists have examined the links between age-related hearing loss and cognition.
A 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis published by The Journal of the American Medical Association found significant links between age-related hearing loss and cognitive decline, cognitive impairment, and the development of dementia.
Additionally, a 2021 study published by the Journal of Neurology found that hearing loss in the general population is associated with lower baseline levels of cognitive function and decreased performance on memory tests over timeâalthough more research is needed before scientists can definitively name hearing loss as a risk factor for cognitive decline.
One factor that could explain the links between hearing loss and cognition is the fact that sound processing and cognitive processing occur in the same areas of the brain.
âThe temporal lobe is the area of the brain which processes both auditory information and short-term memory storage,â Rhee Rosenman-Nesson, AuD, tells WebMD Connect to Care. âIt is also the first area to be affected by Alzheimerâs disease, so difficulty listening can potentially lead to a in this area.â
Do Hearing Aids Reverse Cognitive Decline
Dr. Curhans research didnt get a clear answer to this question. Among volunteers with severe hearing loss, those who wore hearing aids had a slightly lower risk of subsequent subjective cognitive decline than those who didnt. But the effect was too small to be statistically significant.
Because they keep you connected withothers, hearing aids can help preventsocial isolation.
She would like to see hearing aids and cognitive decline get a hard look. There isnt much evidence over long periods of time and what we have isnt conclusive, she notes. Several studies have found no relation between hearing aid use and cognitive function decline, while others have been suggestive of a possible association, she told Healthy Hearing. This relation merits further study.
One recent and very large observational study did shed more light on this issue, finding that hearing aids appeared to delay the onset of cognitive impairment and dementia, along with depression and falls that cause injuries. However, it was not a randomized controlled trial, so the results could have been for other reasons .
As well, one large 2018 study analyzed results from more than 2,000 Americans age 50 and up who took word recall tests every two years for up to 18 years. Among those who acquired hearing aids along the way, the evidence suggested that the aids slowed the rate they lost memory of words.
His answer, Do they do it from the drawer?
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The First Sign Of Hearing Loss Is Frequently Memory Loss
This kind of memory loss is typically temporary, its a sign of mental fatigue more than an underlying change in how your brain operates. But if the underlying concerns are not dealt with, that could change.
So if youre observing some memory loss, it can be an early sign of hearing loss. You should set up an appointment with your hearing professional as soon as you recognize these symptoms. Your memory will probably return to normal when your underlying hearing issues are dealt with.
As an added bonus, your hearing health will likely improve, too. The decline in your hearing will be slowed considerably by using hearing aids. These little devices, in this way, will enhance your total health not only your hearing.
Loss Of Memory Is An Early Warning System For Your Body
Memory loss isnt exclusive to hearing loss, of course. There are plenty of things that can cause your recollections to start getting fuzzy, including fatigue and illness . As an example, eating healthy and sleeping well can help help your memory.
This can be an example of your body putting up red flags. The red flags go up when things arent working properly. And having difficulty recollecting who said what in yesterdays meeting is one of those red flags.
But these warnings can help you know when things are starting to go wrong with your hearing.
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New Research Highlights The Need To Improve Our Approach To Subclinical Hearing Loss
A recent article in JAMA Otolaryngology highlights this need. In this article, researchers reviewed two large population databases of 6,451 people who had had hearing and cognitive testing. The research showed that those who were 50 or older had cognitive scores that seemingly declined even before they reached clinically defined hearing loss . The research also noted that the association between hearing and cognition is stronger among subjects with normal hearing compared to those with hearing loss. For example, in the population they analyzed, cognition scores dropped in the normal hearing population faster than in the population with hearing loss. This result is somewhat counterintuitive, and suggests that maybe what we currently define as normal hearing may in fact include some people with hearing deficits. It also challenges what clinicians have accepted as standard classifications for hearing loss on hearing tests.
Conductive Hearing Loss Aggravates Memory Decline In Alzheimer Model Mice
- 1Division of RI Application, Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences, Seoul, South Korea
- 2Radiological and Medico-Oncological Sciences, University of Science and Technology, Seoul, South Korea
- 3Division of Radiation Biomedical Research, Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences, Seoul, South Korea
- 4Department of Bio-Convergence Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea
- 5Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Boramae Medical Center, Seoul Metropolitan Government-Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
- 6Department of Otorhinolaryngology, College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
- 7National Primate Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology , Cheongju, South Korea
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Dementia And Hearing Loss
When memory loss is extreme, the result could be dementia. And there is a connection between hearing loss and dementia, though there are several other factors involved and the cause and effect relationship is still fairly murky. Still, individuals with neglected hearing loss, over time, have a higher risk for going through cognitive decline, which can start as memory loss and ultimately become more serious concerns.
Hearing Loss May Double The Risk Of Mci
Sardone and colleagues had access to data on 1,604 participants in the Great Age Study, who were 75 years old, on average.
The participants were asked to undertake a series of hearing tests and have both their memory and reasoning tested.
Almost 26 percent of the study participants had peripheral hearing loss, and 12 percent had central hearing loss. Around 33 percent of the participants received a diagnosis of MCI, which was given using the well established Petersen criteria.
Overall, people with central hearing loss were two times more likely to develop MCI compared with people whose hearing was intact.
More specifically, of the 192 people who had central hearing loss, 144 also had MCI. This amounts to 75 percent. By comparison, of the 609 people whose hearing was intact, 365 people had MCI, which amounts to 60 percent.
These preliminary results suggest that central hearing loss may share the same progressive loss of functioning in brain cells that occurs in cognitive decline, rather than the sensory deprivation that happens with peripheral hearing loss.
Its a problem with perception, he adds. As the study authors note in their paper, No previous study has investigated speech discrimination and separate the auditory perception from auditory function.
Tests of hearing perception, says Sardone, should be given to people who are older than 65 and also to people with cognitive impairment.
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The Hidden Risks Of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is frustrating for those who have it and for their loved ones. But recent research from Johns Hopkins reveals that it also is linked with walking problems, falls and even dementia.
In a study that tracked 639 adults for nearly 12 years, Johns Hopkins expert Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D, and his colleagues found that mild hearing loss doubled dementia risk. Moderate loss tripled risk, and people with a severe hearing impairment were five times more likely to develop dementia.
Should You Get Tested For Hearing Loss Or For Dementia
As a general rule, you should get your hearing checked first. This is because audiological evaluations are very simple to have done. And for most people, the telltale signs of hearing loss tend to crop up sooner than those for cognitive decline. In other words, sufferers will complain of dropped conversations or muffled sounds before they begin having difficulty remembering names or where they left their keys.
So whether youâre struggling to make out sounds or recall simple details, you should start with a comprehensive hearing examination before exploring neurological intervention.
However, traditional hearing tests canât always diagnose the root cause of the problem.
This is why we use a far more holistic approach to evaluating our patients.
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Pet Statistical Parametric Mapping And Mr Voxel
PET and MR scans were acquired at baseline and at 3 and 7 months after the induction of hearing loss in order to assess changes in cerebral glucose metabolism and gray matter concentrations .
Regional cerebral glucose metabolism was measured using the F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose PET scan . Prior to the PET scan, the mice underwent an 8-h fasting period, after which they were anesthetized with 2% isoflurane in 100% oxygen . The body temperatures of the mice were maintained at 36°C using heating pads during the course of the scan. Next, 200 Ci of F-18 FDG was injected through the tail vein of the mice. After 30 min of uptake, emission PET data were acquired for 30 min using an energy window of 350650 keV. The emission list-mode data were sorted into three-dimensional sinograms and reconstructed using 3D reprojection algorithms without the use of a filter. The size of the image matrix was 256 × 256 × 159, with a pixel size of 0.155 mm × 0.155 mm and a slice thickness of 0.796 mm.
T2w 3D MR images were acquired using an Agilent 9.4 T MR scanner . An AD quad 70 RF coil was used, and the matrix size was 192 × 192 × 192. The repetition time was 2500 ms. The effective echo time was set at 7 ms. The total image acquisition time was 3 h 36 min.
Hearing Problems Might Be A Red Flag For Memory Loss
A new study has uncovered a link between hearing loss and mild cognitive impairment, which is often a precursor to Alzheimers. Previous studies have shown a link, but this study pinpoints what kind of hearing loss is linked to dementiaand what is not.
Scientists in the south of Italy looked at 1,604 people with an average age of 75. Of those people, 26 percent had what is called peripheral age-related hearing loss, which is caused by problems in how the inner ear and hearing nerves function. Twelve percent had central age-related hearing loss, which stems from problems with the brains ability to process noisein other words, they can hear, but they cant understand.
When the researchers looked at what kind of hearing loss overlapped with mild cognitive impairment, people with central hearing loss were twice as likely to have mild cognitive impairment as people who had no hearing loss. Amongst people with central hearing loss, 75 percent had mild cognitive impairment. But people with peripheral hearing loss were no more likely to have memory problems than those who had no hearing issues.
The study highlights the fact that hearing loss isnt always a problem with being able to hear sometimes, its the brains ability to process the noise that is malfunctioning.
The authors also conducted studies on verbal comprehension, noting that people who had trouble understanding speech had lower scores on memory tests.
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How To Get Help
Hearing loss isnt age-specific it can affect everyone, from babies to adults and seniors. The best way to know how to get help is to schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist. He or she will be able to help determine the type and degree of hearing loss you have. From there, the hearing care professional will be able to suggest a type and style of hearing aid that can help you begin to live a happier, more fulfilled life.
If you think you or a loved one suffers from hearing loss, don’t delay another day. Visit a hearing healthcare professional and take the first step toward a world of better hearing.
Hearing Aids Cost Too Much
At present, very few states require health insurers to cover the cost of hearing aids for people of all ages. As a result, 61 percent of users pay the bill themselves. At an average price of $1,675 per ear for equipment, fittings and evaluations, hearing aids can take a bite out of your budget. Factor in the high cost of hearing loss, however, and it is money well spent.
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