Is Your Forgetfulness The Result of Hearing Loss?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

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

The connection between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always evident. People usually don’t associate their memory issues, for instance, 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, the relationship is at least in part the result of 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 improve.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be hard to notice. Frequently, people miss the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. For these individuals hearing loss may only become obvious once it has become moderate or severe. The progression of hearing loss is frequently slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult to notice. It’s commonly easy to disregard symptoms and, essentially, 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 may not detect that it’s becoming more difficult 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. However, compensating in this way requires considerable brain power. 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 experiencing 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 formulate the best treatment plan.

Can memory issues be the result of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is often a prominent presentation. This is especially true of untreated hearing loss. Although scientists aren’t perfectly clear as to the cause and effect connection, hearing loss has been well connected to the following issues.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to untreated hearing loss is not 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 often, talk with the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Over time, this type of solitude can alter the way your brain is functioning.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The risk of dementia and other forms of mental decline is greater for individuals with untreated hearing loss. This risk declines considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

These issues are not unrelated, of course. Social solitude can exacerbate depression and other cognitive health issues. Likewise, that type of solitude can also raise your risk of developing dementia.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more severe impacts of neglected hearing loss is a marked increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. Scientists have a few theories about why this may be, but what’s obvious is that management of symptoms helps substantially. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow down mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

The good news is, managing neglected hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will definitely help. Here are a number of things we might recommend if hearing loss is detected:

  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you detect problems with your hearing before they become significant problems. Treating your hearing loss early can prevent mental strain.
  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can prevent further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.
  • 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 scenario. By avoiding and reducing social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.

You can improve your memory

If hearing loss is causing you to be a little forgetful, it’s worthwhile to emphasize that it doesn’t need to remain that way. In many cases, mental functions will come back once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a world of good.

Scheduling an appointment with us can greatly improve your outlook and reduce 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.