Is Your Forgetfulness The Result of Hearing Loss?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-associated hearing loss can have broad impacts across your whole life. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but also your social life, your professional networks, and even your mental abilities. The way your brain functions, including your memory and mood, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the connection between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. People typically don’t relate their memory issues, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the very first symptoms. Unfortunately, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely connected.

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, the connection is at least partly related to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your cognitive abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Hearing loss can be hard to notice. It isn’t uncommon for individuals to miss the more subtle and early signs. For these individuals hearing loss may only become noticeable once it has become moderate or severe. The development of hearing loss is frequently slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult to detect. It’s often easy to ignore symptoms and, basically, raise the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Another factor is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. You may not notice that it’s becoming more difficult to understand what people are saying as a result. This is beneficial in that you will most likely experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires significant brain power. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long time periods.:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue

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 determined that you are dealing with hearing loss, we can help you formulate the best treatment plan.

Can hearing loss lead to memory issues?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is often a notable presentation. This is particularly true of untreated hearing loss. Although scientists aren’t completely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been solidly connected to the following issues.:

  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of mental decline is greater for individuals who have untreated hearing loss. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk goes down significantly.
  • Social isolation: People with neglected hearing loss will often begin to isolate themselves from others. They will often steer clear of conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Over time, this type of solitude can change the way your brain is working.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of untreated hearing loss is not unusual according to multiple studies. And once again, when the root hearing loss has been managed, the risk factor drops considerably.

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

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

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

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

If your fatigue and memory loss are caused by neglected hearing loss, the good news is that managing your hearing loss symptoms can definitely have a positive impact. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we may suggest the following:

  • 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 counter additional degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can result in less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social situation. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.

You can improve your memory

You can recover strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. In many cases, mental functions will return once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When your brain doesn’t need to work as hard to hear, the rest can be very helpful.

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

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.