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. 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 works, including your mood and memory, can be significantly 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 issues are associated with a loss of hearing. The unfortunate truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, hearing loss puts a unique strain on your brain and that’s, at least to some extent, the link. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your mental abilities will improve.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be hard to detect. Often, individuals fail to notice the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. Hearing loss might only be recognized, for people in this category, when it becomes more severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to advance rather slowly. Individuals frequently begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

Another aspect is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. You may not notice that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. This is beneficial in that you will likely experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires considerable brain power. Requiring your brain to execute at this level for long periods can result in:

  • 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. If it’s established that you are dealing with hearing loss, we can help you formulate the best treatment plan.

Can hearing loss lead to memory problems?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is frequently a prominent presentation. This is especially true of untreated hearing loss. Although scientists aren’t entirely clear as to the cause and effect connection, hearing loss has been well connected to the following issues.:

  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals with neglected hearing loss often exhibit an increased risk of dementia and mental decline. This risk drops dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to neglected hearing loss is not unusual according to multiple studies. And once more, when the underlying hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops considerably.
  • Social isolation: It’s not uncommon for people to withdraw from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. They will frequently steer clear of conversations and will do things like using self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Over time, this kind of solitude can change the way your brain is functioning.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Social isolation can exacerbate depression and other cognitive health issues. Similarly, that type of isolation can also raise your risk of developing dementia.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

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

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

The good news is, treating untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will certainly help. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we may recommend the following:

  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can result in less strain on your mental abilities and an improvement in your social situation. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become substantial issues. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously discussed can be avoided and further damage can be reduced by using hearing protection.

You can improve your memory

You can recover strength of memory even if hearing loss is presently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your mental 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 drastically improve your outlook and decrease 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.