Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your whole life can be impacted by age-related hearing loss. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your cognitive clarity can also be affected. Over time, hearing loss can intensely impact how your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. People typically don’t associate their memory issues, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the very first symptoms. Unfortunately, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely related.

What does loss of hearing 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. Your mental abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Noticing hearing loss can often be challenging. Often, people miss the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. For these people hearing loss may only become noticeable once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to progress quite gradually. Individuals frequently begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to dismiss their symptoms.

In addition, the human brain is really good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. Consequently, you may 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 in this way requires significant brain power. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability

If you’re having these symptoms, we’ll be able to tell you whether the root cause is hearing loss or not. If it’s established that you’re dealing with hearing loss, we can help you establish the best 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 untreated hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship is not entirely understood, but it’s clear that there is a connection between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Social isolation: Individuals with untreated hearing loss will frequently begin to isolate themselves from other people. You’ll go out less often, chat with the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Your brain will often change 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 isn’t unusual according to multiple studies. Again, this risk has been shown to drop when the root hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The risk of dementia and other forms of mental decline is greater for individuals who have neglected hearing loss. This risk drops considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

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

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more severe impacts of neglected hearing loss is a significant increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps substantially and scientists have a few theories as to why. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to reduce mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss induced forgetfulness

The good news is, managing untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is caused by hearing loss, will certainly help. Here are a number of things we may recommend if hearing loss is identified:

  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you detect problems with your hearing before they become significant issues. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent mental strain.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can lead to less strain on your mental abilities and an improvement in your social situation. By avoiding and reducing social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.
  • Hearing protection: The utilization of hearing protection can prevent further degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s important to highlight that it doesn’t have to stay that way. In many cases, mental functions will return once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear, the rest can be very helpful.

Make an appointment with us so that we can help you significantly improve your outlook and decrease 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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