Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

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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 works, including your mood and memory, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is elusive. People usually don’t associate their memory issues, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. Sadly, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely related.

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, the link is at least partly the result of the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your mental abilities will usually improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Detecting hearing loss can frequently be challenging. Frequently, people fail to notice the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. For these people hearing loss may only become noticeable once it has become moderate or severe. The progression of hearing loss is often gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to notice. People often begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to dismiss their symptoms.

Another factor is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. You might not notice that it’s becoming more difficult to understand what people are saying as a result. This is advantageous in that you will likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. However, compensating in this way requires significant brain power. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long periods can lead to:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue

If you’re noticing these symptoms, we’ll be able to tell you whether the root 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 lead to memory issues?

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

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss can also cause increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been shown to drop when the underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People with untreated hearing loss often exhibit an increased danger of dementia and cognitive decline. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk goes down significantly.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with untreated hearing loss will often begin to isolate themselves from other people. You’ll go out less often, chat with the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Over time, this type of solitude can alter the way your brain is working.

These issues are not unrelated, of course. Mental health problems, including depression, can be intensified by social solitude. 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 neglected hearing loss, and that’s one of the more severe consequences of neglecting your hearing issues. Scientists have a few theories about why this might be, but what’s obvious is that management of symptoms helps substantially. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to reduce mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss induced forgetfulness

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 may recommend if hearing loss is identified:

  • Hearing protection: The utilization of hearing protection can counter further degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the cognitive strain described above.
  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become significant issues. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent cognitive strain.
  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. Your social life can be improved and your mental 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 problems.

You don’t need 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 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.

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

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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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