Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-associated hearing loss can have diverse impacts across your overall life. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your cognitive clarity can also be affected. The way your brain works, including your mood and memory, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. People normally don’t relate their memory issues, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. The unfortunate truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What’s the link between memory and hearing loss? Well, the link is at least in part due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your cognitive abilities will sharpen.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Noticing hearing loss can often be difficult. It’s not unusual for people to miss the more discreet and early signs. For these people hearing loss may only become noticeable once it has become moderate or severe. The development of hearing loss is often gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult to recognize. Individuals often begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to ignore their symptoms.

Another factor is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. As a result, you may not notice that people are harder to understand. This is advantageous in that you will probably experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires substantial brain power. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long periods can lead to:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue

We will be able to help you determine whether these symptoms are a result of hearing loss or not. In instances where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Can hearing loss result in memory issues?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is a prevalent symptom. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is particularly true. Although scientists aren’t completely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been well linked to the following problems.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Research has shown that untreated hearing loss can also lead to increases in both depression and anxiety over time. And once more, when the root hearing loss has been managed, the risk factor drops considerably.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t unusual for people to disengage from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. They will frequently steer clear of conversations and will do things like using self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The risk of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for people with neglected hearing loss. This risk drops considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

These issues aren’t unrelated, of course. Mental health problems, including depression, can be intensified by social solitude. Similarly, that type of isolation can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more extreme impacts of untreated hearing loss is a marked increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps significantly and scientists have a number of theories as to why. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

If your fatigue and forgetfulness are caused by untreated hearing loss, the good news is that managing your hearing loss symptoms can definitely have a positive effect. Here are a few things we might suggest if hearing loss is detected:

  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can lead to less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social situation. By preventing and decreasing social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously discussed can be avoided and additional damage can be reduced by the use of hearing protection.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you detect problems with your hearing before they become substantial problems. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent mental strain.

You don’t have to stay forgetful!

You can restore strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your cognitive function, in many circumstances, will improve. When your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear, the rest can be really helpful.

Making an appointment with us can greatly improve your outlook and decrease 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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