Could Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-associated hearing loss can have broad impacts across your overall life. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your mental clarity can also be impacted. The way your brain functions, including your memory and mood, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

The relationship between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always obvious. For instance, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory problems are linked to a loss of hearing. Unfortunately, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely related.

What’s the connection between memory and hearing loss? Well, the connection is at least in part due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your mental abilities will sharpen.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Hearing loss can be difficult to notice. Often, individuals miss the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. For these individuals hearing loss may only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to develop quite gradually. It’s commonly easy to ignore symptoms and, essentially, 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. As a result, you might not notice that people are harder to understand. This is beneficial in that you will likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires substantial brain power. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long periods can result in:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue

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

Can memory issues be the outcome of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. This is especially true of neglected hearing loss. Although scientists aren’t entirely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been well connected to the following problems.:

  • 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 depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of untreated hearing loss is not unusual according to numerous studies. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People with untreated hearing loss have been known to exhibit an increased danger of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk falls considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

These issues aren’t unrelated, of course. Mental health problems, including depression, can be worsened by social isolation. Likewise, that type of solitude can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

One of the more severe impacts of untreated hearing loss is a significant increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. 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 reduce mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia later in life.

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

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

  • Regular screenings: Before any issues start to occur, routine screenings can identify them. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. Your social life can be improved and your cognitive abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can prevent further degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the cognitive strain described above.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a little forgetful, it’s important to highlight that it doesn’t need to stay that way. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your cognitive function, in many circumstances, will sharpen. When your brain doesn’t need to work as hard to hear, the rest can be very helpful.

Scheduling an appointment with us can drastically 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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