Could Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your overall life can be affected by age-related hearing loss. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your mental clarity can also be impacted. The way your brain functions, including your memory and mood, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

The relationship between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always evident. For example, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory troubles are linked to a loss of hearing. Unfortunately, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely linked.

What’s the link between memory and hearing loss? Well, the relationship is at least partly due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your mental abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss effects memory

Detecting hearing loss can frequently be difficult. It’s not unusual for individuals to miss the more discreet and early signs. For these people hearing loss may only become evident once it has become moderate or severe. The progression of hearing loss is usually gradual over time and that’s in part why it’s initially hard to notice. People frequently begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to dismiss their symptoms.

In addition, the human brain is quite good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. As a result, you may not notice that people are harder to understand. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer disruptions. However, compensating like this requires considerable brain power. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long periods can lead to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

We will be able to help you figure out whether these symptoms are due to hearing loss or not. In situations where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Can memory issues be the outcome of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is often a notable presentation. This is especially true of neglected hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship isn’t fully understood, but it’s clear that there is a link between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for people who have untreated hearing loss. When the hearing loss is effectively managed, the risk decreases substantially.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to untreated hearing loss isn’t unusual according to numerous studies. And once more, when the root hearing loss has been managed, the risk factor drops considerably.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t uncommon for individuals to disengage from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. You’ll go out less often, talk with the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Over time, this kind of isolation can change the way your brain is working.

These problems are not unrelated, of course. Social isolation can worsen depression and other cognitive health problems. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social solitude.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

One of the more severe impacts of untreated hearing loss is a significant increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Scientists have a few theories about why this might be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps significantly. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow cognitive decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

If your fatigue and memory loss are caused by untreated hearing loss, the good news is that managing your hearing loss symptoms can absolutely have a positive impact. Here are a number of things we might recommend if hearing loss is identified:

  • The use of hearing aids: Utilizing a hearing aid can help you hear better. Your social life can be improved and your cognitive abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. By preventing and decreasing social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.
  • Regular screenings: Before any issues begin to happen, routine screenings can identify them. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can counter further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.

You can improve your memory

You can recover strength of memory even if hearing loss is presently causing a little forgetfulness. In many cases, cognitive functions will come back once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t have to work so hard, and that rest can do a world of good.

Scheduling an appointment with us can significantly improve your outlook and reduce your risk for other issues. Call us today!

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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