Could Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-associated hearing loss can have diverse impacts across your whole life. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your mental clarity can also be affected. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact how your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

The connection between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always apparent. People normally don’t associate their memory problems, 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 cognitive abilities will usually improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Detecting hearing loss can often be difficult. Frequently, people fail to notice the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. For these people hearing loss might only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. The progression of hearing loss is often slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult to detect. It’s often easy to disregard symptoms and, essentially, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Another aspect is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. Consequently, you may not notice that people are more difficult to understand. The positive thing about this is that your day-to-day life will have fewer disruptions. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate like this. 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 noticing these symptoms, we’ll be able to tell you whether the underlying cause is hearing loss or not. In cases where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to establish a treatment plan.

Can hearing loss result in memory issues?

Obviously, your brain can be impacted by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is frequently a prominent presentation. This is especially true of untreated hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship isn’t entirely understood, but it’s obvious that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of dementia: People with untreated hearing loss often have an increased risk of dementia and mental decline. This risk declines dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with neglected hearing loss will frequently begin to separate themselves from others. You’ll go out less frequently, talk with the cashier at the supermarket 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 due to neglected hearing loss isn’t unusual according to numerous studies. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to decrease when the root hearing loss is effectively managed.

These issues are not unrelated, of course. Social isolation can worsen depression and other mental health problems. Similarly, that kind of solitude can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Does hearing loss cause cognitive decline?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by neglected hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious outcomes of neglecting your hearing problems. Scientists have some theories about why this may be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps significantly. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to reduce mental decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

The good news is, managing neglected hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is caused by hearing loss, will definitely help. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we may recommend the following:

  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. This can lead to less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social scenario. By preventing and decreasing social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously mentioned can be avoided and additional damage can be minimized by the use of hearing protection.
  • Regular screenings: Before any issues begin to happen, regular screenings can identify them. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.

You don’t have to remain forgetful!

You can recover strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your cognitive function, in many instances, will improve. 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 reduce your risk for other issues. Call 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.