Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have diverse impacts across your whole life. Not only is your ability to hear affected, but also your social life, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. The way your brain functions, including your memory and mood, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. For example, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory troubles are associated with a loss of hearing. The sad reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, the relationship is at least partly due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your cognitive abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss effects memory

Hearing loss can be difficult to notice. It isn’t unusual for people to miss the more discreet and early signs. For these individuals hearing loss might only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. The advancement of hearing loss is usually slow over time and that’s in part why it’s initially hard to notice. It’s often easy to ignore symptoms and, essentially, raise the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Additionally, the human brain is really good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. You may not notice that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. This is advantageous in that you will likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate like this. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long time periods.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, we’ll be able to inform you whether the underlying cause is hearing loss or not. In instances where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to formulate a treatment plan.

Can hearing loss cause memory issues?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is frequently a notable presentation. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is particularly true. Though scientists aren’t completely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been solidly connected to the following problems.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to neglected hearing loss is not unusual according to numerous studies. And once more, when the root hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops substantially.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t uncommon for individuals to disengage from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. They will frequently avoid conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Over time, this sort of isolation can alter the way your brain is functioning.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of mental decline is greater for individuals who have untreated hearing loss. When the hearing loss is effectively managed, the risk goes down substantially.

These problems are not unrelated, of course. Mental health problems, including depression, can be worsened by social solitude. And your risk of dementia also increases with social isolation.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more extreme impacts of neglected hearing loss is a significant increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps substantially 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 lower your risk of developing dementia later in life.

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 treating your hearing loss symptoms can absolutely have a positive impact. Here are a number of things we may recommend if hearing loss is detected:

  • Hearing protection: The utilization of hearing protection can counter additional degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. Your social life can be improved and your cognitive abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. By avoiding and decreasing social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you detect issues with your hearing before they become significant issues. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent cognitive strain.

You can improve your memory

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 cases, will sharpen. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t have to work so hard, and that rest can do a world of good.

Schedule an appointment with us so that we can help you substantially improve your outlook and decrease your risk of other problems.

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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