Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hearing Loss and Memory

In a previous entry I described my challenges with hearing loss. What was an ongoing challenge has since shifted to the management of a chronic condition. I still remain open to the possibility that my hearing may improve, though I have shifted more of my focus to managing the condition and making the most of what I have.

And what I have is pretty darned good. While some days congestion still makes it hard for me to hear high frequencies (i.e. some women’s voices), my Oticon hearing aids allow me to function about as well as ever.

What I’ve found interesting is my shifting definition of as well as ever.

As a small boy I had a lot of ear infections, and I’m now thinking my hearing loss has, more or less, been a lifelong condition. I first considered the possibility that I had hearing loss a couple years ago, and at the time my focus was on resolving what I considered an acute onset of hearing loss. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I am seeing that my hearing has always been pretty spotty.

And my entire life I’ve had a pretty shaky memory.

Recent research has suggested that untreated hearing loss may contribute to memory loss, and in my experience, this is indeed the case. Since committing to wearing the hearing aids (even when they squeal with feedback, hurt my ears or amplify the background sounds I really don’t want to hear) I have found my memory to be much sharper. Never would I have thought memory loss would be associated with moderate-to-severe hearing loss (my official category), yet I am happy to report that treating my hearing loss has significantly improved my memory.

All this leads me to the point of this blog posting:
If you or someone you know is vaguely suspicious they have hearing loss, TREAT IT!

While hearing aids are no replacement for the original equipment, they will not only help keep you in the loop, but may also help keep your mind sharp.

Hearing aids are vastly improved, and if you’re hesitant to pursue treating hearing loss because of the struggles your Grandma Violet had with her hearing aids, please rethink treating your hearing loss. Hearing aids are based on the same technology as computers, and like computers, hearing aids have improved dramatically in the past few years.

The new hearing aids are smaller, smarter and more reliable than ever. There’s never been a better time to rejoin the conversation and strengthen your mind by treating a suspected hearing loss.


Sandra Helpsmeet said...

I too have recently treated my hearing loss, a gradually advancing thing that seems to be common in my family. As for hearing and memory, I am not sure where the chicken is and where the egg is. I know that I was beginning to not even try to hear conversations with soft voiced people or in groups, and I was getting used to the idea of not trying to understand things, which led to less robust thinking. Now I feel like I am linked in again. However, my memory has never been good With a lot of vata in my constitution, the description "Learns easily; forgets quickly" has always described me pretty well. In any case, I agree that hearing aids are amazing little techno-miracles these days. I remember my father struggling with his large, squealing, hard to adjust models. Those are a thing of the past. If you are not hearing well, go get it checked out.

Frank said...

Very informative post looking after your hearing is very important. I'm happy hearing aids worked out well for you man!