How is your memory lately? We have probably all experienced meeting someone and immediately forgetting the name they just told us or remembering directions.
Human memory is tricky, and sometimes it can deceive us. There are tricks we can use to help us remember things, but if memory seems to be worse than before, it may be linked with hearing.
Evidence suggests that people suffering from hearing loss may have more trouble remembering verbal information than their counterparts who can hear well. The reason is that when hearing capacity is diminished the brain is working harder to hear, so there is less effort put into actually remembering what is said.
The Acoustical Society of America published a study in 1995 evaluating the memory of adults of different ages. They specifically looked at their memory speech they had heard. The researchers found that the more difficulty participants had hearing something (for any reason—from background noise to hearing impairment), the harder it was for them to recall the words they had heard.
The researchers discovered that the harder it is to hear something, the more cognitive load it takes to hear it, which takes away from the brain processing, storing and retrieving what was heard.
What Can I Do?
If you’ve noticed you are a bit more “forgetful” lately, especially when it comes to verbal instructions or conversations, hearing loss may be affecting your hearing.
There are a few things you can do to assist your memory, now that you’ve identified the culprit.
- Cut down on background noise or other distractions. Listening to verbal instructions or communication without distraction (when it’s possible) will help you to hear more clearly and recall what has been said.
- Get enough sleep! The more well-rested you are the more brain-power you will have to focus and concentrate on what is being said. While you’re at it, make sure you have a good meal so you aren’t distracted by hunger.
- Take Notes. The more different ways we process something (hearing, writing, reading), the more likely we are to recall it later, so write it down if you can!
- Get Tested. If you suspect you may be having some hearing impairment, see your audiologist as soon as you can so it can be addressed before it progresses further. Hearing loss is not reversible, so the earlier you address it the better.
The first step to improving your memory and listening skills is to identify the issue. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a plan to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.
Diablo Hearing Services 2301 Camino Ramon, STE 106 San Ramon CA94583 (925) 394-4646