Could Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your whole life can be affected 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 directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

The connection between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always evident. People typically don’t associate their memory problems, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the very first symptoms. The unfortunate truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What’s the link between memory and hearing loss? Well, hearing loss puts a unique strain on your brain and that’s, at least in part, the connection. Your cognitive abilities will usually improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be difficult to detect. It’s not uncommon for individuals to miss the more discreet and early signs. Hearing loss might only be detected, for people in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The advancement of hearing loss is frequently slow over time and that’s in part why it’s initially difficult to notice. It’s commonly easy to ignore symptoms and, basically, turn up 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 might not notice that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. The positive thing about this is that your day-to-day life will have fewer disruptions. But it takes a considerable amount of brain power to compensate like this. Requiring your brain to execute at this level for long durations can result in:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

If you’re noticing these symptoms, we’ll be able to inform you whether the underlying cause is hearing loss or not. In instances where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Can hearing loss cause memory issues?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is frequently a notable presentation. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is especially true. The cause and effect relationship is not entirely understood, but it’s clear that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of dementia: The risk of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for individuals with neglected hearing loss. This risk drops dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to untreated hearing loss isn’t uncommon according to multiple studies. Again, this risk has been shown to drop when the root hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Social isolation: It’s not unusual for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. You’ll go out less frequently, chat with the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.

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

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by untreated hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious consequences of neglecting your hearing issues. It’s quite clear that management of the symptoms helps considerably and scientists have a number of theories as to why. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to reduce 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, treating neglected hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will definitely help. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we may recommend the following:

  • Hearing protection: Using hearing protection can counter additional degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the cognitive strain described above.
  • Regular screenings: Before any issues start to occur, routine screenings can detect them. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can lead to less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social scenario. By avoiding and limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.

You can improve your memory

You can restore strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your mental function, in many cases, will sharpen. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t have to work so hard, and that rest can do a world of good.

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


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