Could Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have broad impacts across your whole life. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but so too are 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.

The connection between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always obvious. For example, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory troubles are linked to a loss of hearing. The sad truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What’s the link between memory and hearing loss? Well, hearing loss puts a unique strain on your brain and that’s, at least in part, the link. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your cognitive abilities will improve.

How hearing loss effects memory

Noticing hearing loss can frequently be difficult. It isn’t uncommon for people to miss the more subtle and early signs. For these people hearing loss may only become obvious once it has become moderate or severe. The progression of hearing loss is usually gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to detect. It’s often easy to dismiss symptoms and, basically, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

In addition, the human brain is quite good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. You might not detect that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer disruptions. But it takes a considerable amount of brain power to compensate like this. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue

We will be able to help you find out whether these symptoms are due to hearing loss or not. In situations where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to formulate a treatment plan.

Can memory issues be the result of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be impacted by hearing loss in other ways besides mental exhaustion. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. This is especially true of neglected hearing loss. Though scientists aren’t entirely clear as to the cause and effect connection, hearing loss has been solidly connected to the following issues.:

  • Social isolation: People with neglected hearing loss will often begin to isolate themselves from other people. You’ll go out less frequently, talk with the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of mental decline is greater for individuals with neglected hearing loss. This risk falls dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have demonstrated that neglected hearing loss can also result in increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to drop when the underlying hearing loss is effectively managed.

All of these problems are obviously intertwined. Mental health issues, including depression, can be worsened by social isolation. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social solitude.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

Your risk of mental decline and dementia is increased by neglected hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious outcomes of neglecting your hearing issues. It’s quite clear that management of the symptoms helps substantially and scientists have a few 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 down the road.

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 treating your hearing loss symptoms can definitely have a positive impact. Here are a few things we might recommend if hearing loss is detected:

  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously discussed can be avoided and additional damage can be reduced by the use of hearing protection.
  • 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 problems can be decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you detect issues with your hearing before they become significant problems. Treating your hearing loss early can prevent cognitive strain.

You don’t have to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s worthwhile to highlight that it doesn’t have to remain that way. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your mental function, in many instances, will sharpen. When your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear, the rest can be really helpful.

Making an appointment with us can significantly improve your outlook and decrease your risk for other issues. Contact 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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