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. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your cognitive clarity can also be impacted. The way your brain works, including your mood and memory, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the link between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. People usually don’t associate their memory issues, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the very first symptoms. The sad reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, the relationship is at least in part the result of the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your cognitive abilities will improve.

How hearing loss effects memory

Hearing loss can be hard to notice. Often, individuals fail to notice the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss might only be identified, for people in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The development of hearing loss is usually slow over time and that’s in part why it’s initially difficult to recognize. Individuals frequently begin raising the volume on their devices more and more and tend to dismiss their symptoms.

Additionally, the human brain is quite good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. Consequently, you may not notice that people are more difficult to understand. This is beneficial in that you will likely experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. But it takes a significant amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

If you’re having these symptoms, we’ll be able to inform you whether the root cause is hearing loss or not. In situations where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to establish a treatment plan.

Can hearing loss lead to memory issues?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is often a prominent presentation. This is especially true of neglected hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship isn’t fully understood, but it’s clear that there is a link between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of dementia: People who have neglected hearing loss frequently exhibit an increased risk of dementia and mental decline. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk diminishes substantially.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of neglected hearing loss is not unusual according to multiple studies. And once again, when the underlying hearing loss has been managed, the risk factor drops significantly.
  • Social isolation: It’s not unusual for people to disengage from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. They will frequently avoid conversations and will do things like using self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.

All of these issues are obviously intertwined. Social solitude can exacerbate depression and other mental health issues. And your risk of dementia also increases with social isolation.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more extreme impacts of untreated hearing loss is a pronounced increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. It’s quite 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 mental decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

Dealing with hearing loss induced forgetfulness

If your fatigue and forgetfulness are caused by neglected hearing loss, the good news is that managing your hearing loss symptoms can definitely have a positive effect. Here are a number of things we might recommend if hearing loss is detected:

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

You don’t have to stay forgetful!

You can regain strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your mental function, in many cases, will improve. 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 reduce 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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