Is Your Forgetfulness Resulting From Hearing Loss?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your overall life can be impacted by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but also your social life, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact the way your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the connection between hearing loss and cognition is elusive. People normally don’t relate their memory problems, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. The unfortunate 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 related to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your mental abilities will sharpen.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Noticing hearing loss can frequently be challenging. It isn’t uncommon for people to miss the more discreet and early signs. For these people hearing loss may only become evident once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to advance rather slowly. Individuals frequently begin raising the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

Another aspect is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. You may not detect that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer disruptions. However, compensating like this requires considerable brain power. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, we’ll be able to inform you whether the root cause is hearing loss or not. If it’s determined that you’re dealing with hearing loss, we can help you formulate the best treatment plan.

Can hearing loss result in memory problems?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is especially true. The cause and effect relationship is not entirely understood, but it’s obvious that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Research has shown that neglected hearing loss can also result in increases in both depression and anxiety over time. And once more, when the underlying hearing loss has been managed, the risk factor drops substantially.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People who have neglected hearing loss frequently exhibit an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk falls considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t uncommon for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. They will often steer clear of conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.

All of these issues are obviously intertwined. Mental health issues, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. Similarly, that type of isolation can also raise your risk of developing dementia.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more severe impacts of untreated hearing loss is a pronounced increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Scientists have some theories about why this might be, but what’s obvious is that management of symptoms helps significantly. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow cognitive decline and lower 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 a result of hearing loss, will certainly help. Here are a few things we may recommend if hearing loss is detected:

  • 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: Routine screenings can help you detect issues 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 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 don’t need to stay forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s worthwhile to highlight that it doesn’t have to stay that way. In many cases, mental functions will come back 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 substantially 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.