Hearing loss and memory

Posted by JK @contentandwell, Oct 21, 2019

I just came across this and found it to be very interesting, and frankly it makes me feel a bit better about my difficulty in remembering things that people say.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/does-hearing-loss-make-it-harder-to-remember-things_b_589a2f19e4b02bbb1816c098
JK

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@contentandwell

Oh my gosh so true. I always tell people that the reason we ask for repeats is because we are so busy struggling to hear each word that we don’t always comprehend immediately and that it’s a two step process for us. I never thought to relate it to short term memory. Years ago people relied on me to remember names . Now I’m the one always asking. I seem to automatically repeat some things I hear. Does anyone else do that?

Yup…feel better and learned something new. And I thought I knew everything about hearing loss😉

FL Mary

REPLY

The eternal struggle to comprehend (not hear–comprehend) what is being spoken means that I lose what I learned during the first sentence as I marshall every brain cell I have to comprehend the second…and the third, etc. I not only cannot remember names but details, even of things that I already know quite a bit about. I often am in lengthy meetings where technical issues about fish and their habitats are discussed. These are topics I've been involved in for decades and know very well, but, after two or three (or more) hours of discussion and note taking, I'm at a loss to summarize what I heard.

Because this degree of loss is quite recent (end of May this year), I find that I'm exhausted most of the time–not because I've done lots of physical activities or failed to get enough sleep, but just from the struggle to understand. In fact, one day I spent 4 hours driving and 6 hours hiking in difficult terrain, all entirely by myself. At the end of that day, I wasn't nearly as tired as I am after a 2-3 hour meeting sitting on my butt! If someone walks past while I'm working in the yard and initiates a 10-minute discussion, I'm tired afterwards. Just a few minutes of making the effort to comprehend is a challenge.

I'm sure that part of my exhaustion is due to depression caused by not being able to understand in small group situations, like around a table for 8 or 10. I feel cheated when I can see that everyone is having a lively discussion but I can only understand occasional words. Of course, a good deal of my problem isn't that I can't hear at all, but that, due to Meniere's, what I hear is so distorted some days that it's just babble punctuated by hurtful spikes of sound. Add fluctuation (sometimes I can hear and understand, but other times I can't even tolerate wearing an aid due to recruitment and distortion), which makes it even harder for people around me to be patient on the days when hearing/comprehension are at very low levels. An hour ago, I might have been able to participate in a one-on-one conversation, but at the moment I cannot, which is very confusing to everyone–including me!

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@joyces What you write is so true, and I especially relate to your last paragraph. When my son and daughter are visiting with their spouses, just sitting around the family room, I miss almost everything being said. It is depressing and tiring. They are generally only here at the same time during the Christmas holidays. Last year at one point I politely excused myself from the conversation and took out my IPad. My son tries to be extremely accommodating, I have the Oticon Connect Clip, a little microphone that he asks to wear and his voice is streamed directly into my hearing aids but that doesn't help much with the rest of the group. I think this link is a good one to forward to my family so they will understand a bit better. Also, we go out to dinner frequently with another couple. The men will be talking and the other husband has a booming voice. If I forget to bring my Connect Clip I can only hear about a third of what the wife says. Thankfully she used to teach deaf children and she had a deaf aunt so she is very understanding.

My loss is quite different from yours, I am just getting familiar with Meniere's on this forum. I have had a hearing loss requiring HAs since around 2004, and it has gotten progressively worse with clarity suffering greatly in the last few years. My husband tells me these hearing aids do not work that well. I keep trying to tell him, it's not the HAs, it's my hearing that doesn't work well.

As you say, it really is exhausting to be in social situations. My son got married in August and although the festivities were fun, they were also exhausting and depressing for me due to my hearing loss.

@imallears I do not automatically repeat things, but it is a great idea. I think I will try to remember to do that.
JK

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I've been working in a noisy production setting all of my adult life, and have been aware of my own memory difficulties. I'm quite disappointed that audiologists haven't addressed this issue with me. I get very frustrated when learning new tasks. This processing disorder explains the frustrations and could be dangerous. It also explains why hearing aids sometimes fail to help and then end up unused.

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@joyces

The eternal struggle to comprehend (not hear–comprehend) what is being spoken means that I lose what I learned during the first sentence as I marshall every brain cell I have to comprehend the second…and the third, etc. I not only cannot remember names but details, even of things that I already know quite a bit about. I often am in lengthy meetings where technical issues about fish and their habitats are discussed. These are topics I've been involved in for decades and know very well, but, after two or three (or more) hours of discussion and note taking, I'm at a loss to summarize what I heard.

Because this degree of loss is quite recent (end of May this year), I find that I'm exhausted most of the time–not because I've done lots of physical activities or failed to get enough sleep, but just from the struggle to understand. In fact, one day I spent 4 hours driving and 6 hours hiking in difficult terrain, all entirely by myself. At the end of that day, I wasn't nearly as tired as I am after a 2-3 hour meeting sitting on my butt! If someone walks past while I'm working in the yard and initiates a 10-minute discussion, I'm tired afterwards. Just a few minutes of making the effort to comprehend is a challenge.

I'm sure that part of my exhaustion is due to depression caused by not being able to understand in small group situations, like around a table for 8 or 10. I feel cheated when I can see that everyone is having a lively discussion but I can only understand occasional words. Of course, a good deal of my problem isn't that I can't hear at all, but that, due to Meniere's, what I hear is so distorted some days that it's just babble punctuated by hurtful spikes of sound. Add fluctuation (sometimes I can hear and understand, but other times I can't even tolerate wearing an aid due to recruitment and distortion), which makes it even harder for people around me to be patient on the days when hearing/comprehension are at very low levels. An hour ago, I might have been able to participate in a one-on-one conversation, but at the moment I cannot, which is very confusing to everyone–including me!

Jump to this post

@joyces
Hi,
Since you are so new to hearing loss, you may be trying too hard . Go easy on yourself and try not to expect too much. I’ve had a progressive loss over 40 years and have had time to adjust. Yeah, it still annoys me that I miss out on so much but…as I will be sitting around the table this Thanksgiving with my entire family…even though I’m not getting everything, I’m so happy to be where I am .

It will take a while for you to come to terms with hearing loss, but realize that you can only do so much. Keep going to the Audi for adjustments and try new assisted devices and hearing apps. (I rely heavily on Live Transcribe for my phone….Android phones only). You’ll learn how you have to plan in advance your approach to people and new situations….even a simple trip to a new doctor.

I don’t have recruitment but understand it and it does make things difficult. Distortion is a killer. Alone time is good but don’t isolate yourself too much…you need to keep your brain active . You have to practice listening to keep as much understanding as you can. You will develop a quick explanation of your loss to explain to others but be upbeat about it if you can.

None of this is your fault but it’s too easy to fall into depression. Keep yourself surrounded by family and good friends and learn when to step away. People gravitate towards positive people…..you can do everything others do expect hear well but don’t let that fact dominate your life even though it impacts everything you do. Read about what other people who have physical challenges have done.

You’ll get there…..not easy…don’t make it a handicap.

FL Mary

REPLY
@jymm

I've been working in a noisy production setting all of my adult life, and have been aware of my own memory difficulties. I'm quite disappointed that audiologists haven't addressed this issue with me. I get very frustrated when learning new tasks. This processing disorder explains the frustrations and could be dangerous. It also explains why hearing aids sometimes fail to help and then end up unused.

Jump to this post

@jymm
People don’t understand cognitive overload and I know of many who have put their hearing aids away into a drawer. They’ve not given them a chance or expect too much out of them. It behooves us to learn about how our ears work…how our brain works…how it affects our lives. Your Audi won’t tell you all this…it’s not that an experienced Audi doesn’t know but that they are trying to get the best possible listening environment for you….in the office. We have to educate them and let them know what we are experiencing out in the real world so they can think about it and pass it on to others.

There’s only so much hearing aids and audiologists can do. I happen to have a small window for adjustments since I have a profound loss. I know this because my Audi told me this and she and I have developed a wonderful rapport. She is unusual because she wants to know about personal experiences and is extremely patient.

She knew about memory difficulty. I’m not sure how much she explains to others but then so many people don’t do research about their own loss and don’t know what questions to ask or how to explain their difficulties and frustrations.

I could literally write a book about this subject so will end right here.

Good days and bad days
FL Mary

REPLY
@joyces

The eternal struggle to comprehend (not hear–comprehend) what is being spoken means that I lose what I learned during the first sentence as I marshall every brain cell I have to comprehend the second…and the third, etc. I not only cannot remember names but details, even of things that I already know quite a bit about. I often am in lengthy meetings where technical issues about fish and their habitats are discussed. These are topics I've been involved in for decades and know very well, but, after two or three (or more) hours of discussion and note taking, I'm at a loss to summarize what I heard.

Because this degree of loss is quite recent (end of May this year), I find that I'm exhausted most of the time–not because I've done lots of physical activities or failed to get enough sleep, but just from the struggle to understand. In fact, one day I spent 4 hours driving and 6 hours hiking in difficult terrain, all entirely by myself. At the end of that day, I wasn't nearly as tired as I am after a 2-3 hour meeting sitting on my butt! If someone walks past while I'm working in the yard and initiates a 10-minute discussion, I'm tired afterwards. Just a few minutes of making the effort to comprehend is a challenge.

I'm sure that part of my exhaustion is due to depression caused by not being able to understand in small group situations, like around a table for 8 or 10. I feel cheated when I can see that everyone is having a lively discussion but I can only understand occasional words. Of course, a good deal of my problem isn't that I can't hear at all, but that, due to Meniere's, what I hear is so distorted some days that it's just babble punctuated by hurtful spikes of sound. Add fluctuation (sometimes I can hear and understand, but other times I can't even tolerate wearing an aid due to recruitment and distortion), which makes it even harder for people around me to be patient on the days when hearing/comprehension are at very low levels. An hour ago, I might have been able to participate in a one-on-one conversation, but at the moment I cannot, which is very confusing to everyone–including me!

Jump to this post

Powerful comment mirrors my comprehension problems, depression, anxiety and exhaustion exactly. Situations might be not be the same, the experience we share is, certainly. Thank you. I am going to have a cochlear implant because I am sick of not understanding overall content in the situations you describe, sick of the depression/exhaustion, sick of my grandchildren looking at me with confusion, and sick of loosing out! Anything will be an improvement.

REPLY
@imallears

@joyces
Hi,
Since you are so new to hearing loss, you may be trying too hard . Go easy on yourself and try not to expect too much. I’ve had a progressive loss over 40 years and have had time to adjust. Yeah, it still annoys me that I miss out on so much but…as I will be sitting around the table this Thanksgiving with my entire family…even though I’m not getting everything, I’m so happy to be where I am .

It will take a while for you to come to terms with hearing loss, but realize that you can only do so much. Keep going to the Audi for adjustments and try new assisted devices and hearing apps. (I rely heavily on Live Transcribe for my phone….Android phones only). You’ll learn how you have to plan in advance your approach to people and new situations….even a simple trip to a new doctor.

I don’t have recruitment but understand it and it does make things difficult. Distortion is a killer. Alone time is good but don’t isolate yourself too much…you need to keep your brain active . You have to practice listening to keep as much understanding as you can. You will develop a quick explanation of your loss to explain to others but be upbeat about it if you can.

None of this is your fault but it’s too easy to fall into depression. Keep yourself surrounded by family and good friends and learn when to step away. People gravitate towards positive people…..you can do everything others do expect hear well but don’t let that fact dominate your life even though it impacts everything you do. Read about what other people who have physical challenges have done.

You’ll get there…..not easy…don’t make it a handicap.

FL Mary

Jump to this post

@imallears @joyces Great suggestion from FL Mary – "Alone time is good but don’t isolate yourself too much…you need to keep your brain active". There is more and more evidence that hearing problems can contribute to dementia due to lack of stimulation. It makes me wonder, if you are getting stimulation by other means, such as online forums like this, does that counteract the lack of oral stimulation? I think it probably does.
When I am doing something else I never think about my lack of hearing comprehension, I only think of it when I am in that situation, so I am not depressed constantly at all. Admittedly though, when in a social environment it is depressing and frustrating. We do what we can do and hope for the best.
Joyce, what kind of hearing aids do you have? I know Phonak has some great devices to stream conversation directly to your HAs. I have Oticon and the Connect Clip they have but it only helps with streaming one person into my aids. Phonak has a device that you can put in the middle of the table and it streams everyone to your aids. My audiologist is getting me some of these aids for me to "test drive" them in December. They would have to be extraordinary for me to invest in new aids at this point. My Oticons are less than three years old and I paid about $6000 for them so another expenditure like that would be almost impossible, unless as I said, the difference was extraordinary. Then I would make the sacrifice.

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@lizzy102

Powerful comment mirrors my comprehension problems, depression, anxiety and exhaustion exactly. Situations might be not be the same, the experience we share is, certainly. Thank you. I am going to have a cochlear implant because I am sick of not understanding overall content in the situations you describe, sick of the depression/exhaustion, sick of my grandchildren looking at me with confusion, and sick of loosing out! Anything will be an improvement.

Jump to this post

@lizzy102 I hope you will keep us informed as you undergo the transition to a CI. I think it is something that many of us may have in the future, I suspect I do so I will be very interested in hearing about it first-hand.
When are you having the surgery for this? I sincerely wish it gives you all of the help you are hoping for.
JK

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@lizzy102

Powerful comment mirrors my comprehension problems, depression, anxiety and exhaustion exactly. Situations might be not be the same, the experience we share is, certainly. Thank you. I am going to have a cochlear implant because I am sick of not understanding overall content in the situations you describe, sick of the depression/exhaustion, sick of my grandchildren looking at me with confusion, and sick of loosing out! Anything will be an improvement.

Jump to this post

@izzy102
Hi,
I also hope the CI is successful for you and I am SO interested in your upcoming journey. I have been contemplating one for my left bad ear but am truthfully not there yet. I have a metal clip in my right eye since the 80s from a detached retina and am fearful of the magnet effect of the CI. Not sure if my Ophthalmologist would have a clue about that. Perhaps , when it comes time I’ll need more information .
Anyway…..good luck and please keep us posted . I know there is a long journey yet after the implant.

FL Mary

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