Can 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. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but also your social connections, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. Over time, hearing loss can intensely impact the way your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

The relationship between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always evident. People usually don’t relate their memory problems, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the very first symptoms. Sadly, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely linked.

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, hearing loss puts a distinctive strain on your brain and that’s, at least to some extent, the connection. Your mental abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be difficult to detect. It isn’t uncommon for people to miss the more discreet and early signs. Hearing loss may only be identified, for people in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The progression of hearing loss is usually gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to notice. It’s often easy to disregard symptoms and, essentially, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Additionally, the human brain is quite good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. Consequently, you may not notice that people are harder to understand. The positive thing about this is that your day-to-day life will have fewer interruptions. However, compensating like this requires significant brain power. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long time periods.:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, we’ll be able to tell you whether the underlying cause is hearing loss or not. If it’s determined that you are dealing with hearing loss, we can help you formulate the best treatment plan.

Can hearing loss result in memory problems?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is particularly true. The cause and effect relationship isn’t fully understood, but it’s obvious that there is a link between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of untreated hearing loss isn’t uncommon according to multiple studies. And once again, when the root hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops considerably.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People with untreated hearing loss frequently exhibit an increased danger of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk falls dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with neglected hearing loss will frequently begin to separate themselves from others. You’ll go out less frequently, talk with the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.

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

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by untreated hearing loss, and that’s one of the more severe consequences of neglecting your hearing issues. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps considerably and scientists have a few theories as to why. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow mental decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia down the road.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

The good news is, managing untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will definitely help. Here are a few things we might suggest if hearing loss is detected:

  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you detect problems with your hearing before they become substantial problems. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early management.
  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can prevent further degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the mental strain outlined above.
  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. This can lead to less strain on your mental abilities and an improvement in your social situation. By avoiding and limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.

You don’t have to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s important to emphasize that it doesn’t need to remain that way. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your cognitive function, in many instances, will sharpen. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a lot of good.

Making an appointment with us can significantly improve your outlook and reduce your risk for other problems. 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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