Do Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Cause Short-Term Memory Loss?

Discussion in 'Support' started by ECP, Nov 25, 2022.

    1. ECP

      ECP Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      being a caregiver for an elderly lady who is hard of hearing
      I've had catastrophic tinnitus and hyperacusis since September. Within days of getting my symptoms, I started having memory problems too.

      Like this morning, for example, I had a craving for a banana, so I looked inside the fruit bowl, which had two bananas in it. I took one and ate it.

      Ten minutes later, I wanted to eat a banana, so I went back to the fruit bowl. There was only one banana in it. I could've sworn there were two bananas in there the last time I looked. Where did the other one go?

      Then I checked inside the kitchen wastebasket. There was a banana peel sitting at the very top of the garbage.

      My husband was still asleep, and neither of us eat bananas late at night, so I was pretty sure I had eaten the banana just a few minutes earlier and forgotten all about it. To confirm this, I ran my tongue around the inside of the mouth. I could taste a faint banana flavor, but I still had no memory of eating it.

      The same thing happens when I cook meals from scratch. If a recipe calls for six or seven herbs and spices, I nearly always lose track of which ones I've added and which ones I haven't. This never happened to me until the tinnitus and hyperacusis began.

      I don't have attention deficit disorder, multiple personality disorder, a drinking problem, or any other cognitive issues that would make me lose track of things. I'm still in my forties, so dementia is unlikely.

      During times in my life when I had insomnia, depression, or anxiety, I may have had difficulty concentrating on mentally challenging tasks, but I never had trouble remembering very simple things.

      I am certain what I am experiencing right now is directly related to the tinnitus and hyperacusis, but I can't prove it. All I know is that I feel slightly brain damaged, even though I have not had a head injury.

      Has this happened to any of you? If so, what did your doctors say, and what did you do to restore your memory? Did you find that as your ear symptoms improved that your memory also improved?
       
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    2. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      ECP

      ECP Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      being a caregiver for an elderly lady who is hard of hearing
      Oh no, it happened again tonight.

      I was making a dish that called for garlic powder, not fresh garlic. When I reached for the cabinet where I keep dried herbs and spices, my mind somehow wandered or blacked out. About two minutes later, when I became fully alert to what I was doing again, I looked down at my hands and I was startled to see them chopping two cloves of fresh garlic on the cutting board.

      I knew they were my own hands, but at that moment they felt like they were being controlled by a brain that wasn't my own. I could only observe the hands passively, as if I were watching a cooking video on YouTube.

      When the hands were done, I decided to omit the garlic powder required by the recipe because it would have been redundant.

      Am I the only person who has had this happen? It really isn't like me to space out and forget what I'm doing or make so many mistakes while following a simple set of instructions.

      If you had known me in August before tinnitus and noxacusis ruined my life, you could see that I was sharp as a tack, super-efficient, and capable of multitasking. Now I don't trust myself to accomplish anything without screwing it up. It's like my soul and my brain keep trying to leave my body for a few minutes at a time, and when they return, they are clueless as to what they missed.

      Somebody on this board once asked if people think their bodies are "inhabitable," as if human bodies are deserted islands or harsh climates that can't support life. It was a strangely worded question, but I get it. I'm starting to think that I don't want to be here anymore.
       
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    3. GeorgeLG
      Wishful

      GeorgeLG Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Leaf blower, rock band, constr & comp shooting, chemo
      I have a couple of thoughts. If you have been sleep deprived because of tinnitus, then that can affect memory and cognitive ability. If you have been severely traumatized by this condition, then these symptoms can occur as changes occur in your brain from the stress. Some medications can cause both. Has anything changed in that regard? A vitamin B12 deficiency can be involved in both, you should get tested. You are not technically deficient until you drop below around 200 (test have different limits) but cognitive decline occurs for some people below 500 so that should be your goal.

      On a lighter note, this is serious, believe me I know, but your story made me laugh out loud. I am almost 70, I am on chemo, have suffered great loss and don't sleep for shite. I will walk into a room and forget the reason I am even in there. Something I have to do pops into my head and I talk to myself at light speed as I run around the house looking for a piece of paper, but 7 out of 10 times, poof it's gone. Crap. Your banana peel story happens every day with vitamins and arthritis medicine. I just got one of those daily vitamin thingies.

      "Of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most."
      Have you been to see a doctor about your condition yet? In addition to my prior comments about sleep and stress, there are some rather rare possibilities involving your brain and/or inner ear where tinnitus is a symptom rather than the root cause. The challenge would be that they would almost certainly want to do an MRI which can be extremely loud. If you go that route, please read the thread on quiet MRI machines which make this a much safer procedure for people with noxacusis.

      I personally believe that the concepts of the super natural are an attempt to explain the difficult to explain. The mind is a powerful thing that can strongly effect our health both good and bad. The mind and body are strongly linked at many levels. Is possession any different than very strong obsessive thoughts? I would stay away from thinking about such things and believe rather that you can improve from this condition and get your life back as so many have. Don’t read about the supernatural, read some success stories here and focus on a better future.

      George
       
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    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      ECP

      ECP Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      being a caregiver for an elderly lady who is hard of hearing
      Thank you, @GeorgeLG.

      I've taken a B-12 supplement for years. After my ear problems began, I switched to Lipo-Flavonoid Plus, which has B-12 in it, as well as other vitamins, so I probably don't have a deficiency. I wasn't on any medications before, and I'm not on any now. Curcumin and calcium are the only other supplements I take. Sleep is the same too.

      I have already seen some doctors, a P.A., and an audiologist, none of whom know anything about the brain fog I'm describing, and it's looking like I will have to go back to my primary care doctor who will probably refer me to a neurologist. It's disheartening because my HMO is sooooo slow to provide appointments for anything. Just trying to see a primary care doctor can take 4 to 8 weeks. Trying to see a specialist after the referral has been provided can take 6 to 12 weeks.

      The P.A. who saw me two weeks ago wants me to have an MRI, and I've been studying all the threads on this board about what will be like, and how to have the quietest possible experience. I'm still debating whether I even want to go through with this, for fear of having a spike to my symptoms. Having said that, I realize I may be hindering or delaying my diagnosis and treatment if I don't agree to go through with it at all.

      I'm currently leaning toward agreeing to have the MRI but setting it for a date in the distant future, like some time in January or February. In the best-case scenario, I may experience some improvement while I wait for the MRI, and then I can cancel it or postpone it even longer.

      I've had to get one of those daily pill boxes too, just like you. It was very humbling to realize I needed it in order to take all my vitamins and supplements correctly. I have also done that thing where I walk into a room and then forgot why I went there. I feel like the character from that thriller, "Memento," you know, the guy whose memory is so bad that he has to write every event on a Post-It note as soon as it happens, or he won't be able to remember it the next day.

      I do take comfort in exactly one thing, and that's the empathy and validation that you and so many other people give one another here on this message board. What happened to my ears and brain is beyond my comprehension, and eleven weeks later I am still in a state of shock and still trying to learn as much as I can, to the extent that anybody can understand these things.
       
    5. GeorgeLG
      Wishful

      GeorgeLG Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Leaf blower, rock band, constr & comp shooting, chemo
      Don’t assume that your B-12 status is OK because you’re taking B-12. Some people don’t absorb it through the oral route because they lack intrinsic factor in their stomach lining and the only way to get their status up is through injections. I would still have it tested.

      George
       
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    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      ECP

      ECP Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      being a caregiver for an elderly lady who is hard of hearing
      Oh thank you, @GeorgeLG. I will definitely talk to a doctor about that.

      I know one person who needed B-12 shots, but she wasn't on oral supplements, so my assumption until now was that a person who takes supplements is automatically getting enough B-12.
       
    7. Greg Sacramento

      Greg Sacramento Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing + Somatic tinnitus from dental work
      @ECP, stress increases cortisol, but the amount of cortisol would not be directly related to the effects of stress on memory. This means that if you create more cortisol during a stress response, this won't necessarily mean that your memory will be more impaired than someone who is less hormonally-responsive. What does happen, is increased cortisol will affect cognitive feelings - and that causes unsureness, as mentioned by @GeorgeLG.

      I would consider - endocrine diagnosis. A little medication and problem solved.
       
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      ECP

      ECP Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      being a caregiver for an elderly lady who is hard of hearing
      Good idea, @Greg Sacramento.

      I'll ask my doctor tomorrow for some bloodwork. I've never had endocrine problems before, but it's been years since anybody looked at my blood for anything other than routine cholesterol and insulin screenings, so maybe something is different.
       
    9. Joe Cuber
      Curious

      Joe Cuber Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Gradual hearing loss + a huge amount of stress
      Hi @ECP - Yes this has happened to me. In my case, it wasn't my tinnitus directly causing memory issues. Instead, it was the lack of quality sleep, which was partly due to the high anxiety I was experiencing due to the onset of the tinnitus. Another factor was due to my having sleep apnea. I got a sleep study done and got diagnosed with sleep apnea. Getting a CPAP machine has really helped me get more deep sleep. A third factor I'm coming to realize with the help of @Greg Sacramento and the support of @Lane and @GeorgeLG is my sleep position possibly affecting how well my brain detoxes in the night. Apparently, I ought to be sleeping on my side rather than my back to help promote better detoxing (plus staying hydrated, being more active, practicing better posture, and more). Anyway, I wanted to suggest these things as food for thought in case it's lack of quality sleep that's causing your brain fog.
       
    10. Greg Sacramento

      Greg Sacramento Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing + Somatic tinnitus from dental work
      @ECP, your postings are detail complete with useful information.
      You had a traumatic event, which understandably can cause negative feelings and fear. With this - unsureness can develop, a probable cause of forgetting. You are coherent, so I would focus on complete blood work and have cortisol level checked. For now, other than that, I would consider asking your husband to give you a Magnesium Glycinate tablet before bed. Sleep more on right side.

      The Benefits of Magnesium For Stress and Anxiety | Adrenal Fatigue Coach

      Please stay in touch.
       
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    11. Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      My 2 cents, in this case totally speculative: because hearing input (and hearing "data") is driven slower to our brains, more "processing power" is allocated to that function. So other functions like memory etc. work slower, but this would not explain exactly why someone would forget what they have just done. It's more like you could seem "absent minded" or need to think hard to see what you had to do on a certain day (priorities, or tasks) because your "energy" is being used up for hearing or dealing with tinnitus/hyperacusis.
       
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    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      ECP

      ECP Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      being a caregiver for an elderly lady who is hard of hearing
      @Joe Cuber, thanks, it was interesting to hear that side sleeping helps. Lucky for me, I've been a lifelong side sleeper.
      @Greg Sacramento, the calcium pill that I've been taking already has Vitamin D, Zinc, and two kinds of Magnesium in it, but when I looked at the label, it was not the same kind of Magnesium you suggested. Thanks for the link. I never even knew there were so many kinds of Magnesium to choose from.
      @Juan, your informal view of it matches my own. I feel like a computer with not enough RAM or GB to operate at peak efficiency. :)
       
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    13. GeorgeLG
      Wishful

      GeorgeLG Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Leaf blower, rock band, constr & comp shooting, chemo
      If this whole experience has been traumatic enough and you are experiencing a significant trauma event, one form of reaction to trauma is disassociation. Not everybody has that reaction but that may be what’s happening here.

      George
       
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    14. Greg Sacramento

      Greg Sacramento Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing + Somatic tinnitus from dental work
      Joe, I have written a few posts about the mentions above, but in the latest post per the above, I should have had included, to take first position as to what your mind wants. Your mind when getting into bed, has already decided what side to start sleeping on. If it's the left side, that's fine. Over the course of the night, sleep mostly on the right side.

      @ECP, Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate liquid or pill has no fillers. This should help your short-term memory, beyond all the other Magnesium benefits mentioned in the link in post #10 above.

      I hesitated to discuss all this again, as I hate over-kill of thoughts.
       
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    15. Joe Cuber
      Curious

      Joe Cuber Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Gradual hearing loss + a huge amount of stress
      I appreciate the clarification @Greg Sacramento. I tend to go to the extreme, so if you hadn't mentioned this, I would have tried to sleep on my right religiously. I'll listen to what my mind wants when I go to sleep as you suggest and favor the right over the course of the night, thanks!
       
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    16. Greg Sacramento

      Greg Sacramento Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing + Somatic tinnitus from dental work
      @Joe Cuber, glad that you realize self-therapy is often more beneficial than uneducated, system player doctors. Hospitals and doctors make lots of money from prescribing dangerous drugs and MRIs to those with tinnitus.
       
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    17. Joe Cuber
      Curious

      Joe Cuber Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Gradual hearing loss + a huge amount of stress
      I'm happy to report, @Greg Sacramento, that, as of this week, I'm completely off of all anti-anxiety/antidepressant medication. I only take supplements now.
       
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    18. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      ECP

      ECP Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      being a caregiver for an elderly lady who is hard of hearing
      Just following up to say thanks again for the good ideas, everyone. You are all awesome.

      I had a comprehensive blood test today. The results are already in. Everything was normal except for iron and vitamin D, which were low. I'll be getting supplements as soon as possible. These deficiencies don't really explain the memory issues and disassociation / depersonalization issues, but they surely account for some of the low energy and mood.

      Also, the Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate arrived on my doorstep today, so I'll be using that for a good night's sleep.

      Hugs to you all,
      ECP
       
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