Is Your Forgetfulness The Result of Hearing Loss?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have broad impacts across your entire life. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but so too are your social life, your professional networks, and even your mental abilities. The way your brain works, including your mood and memory, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

The connection between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always evident. For example, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory troubles are linked to a loss of hearing. The sad reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What’s the connection between memory and hearing loss? Well, the relationship is at least in part due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your cognitive abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Noticing hearing loss can often be challenging. Often, people miss the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. For these individuals hearing loss might only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to progress quite slowly. People often begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to dismiss their symptoms.

Additionally, the human brain is really good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. Consequently, you might not notice that people are more difficult to understand. This is beneficial in that you will probably experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. But it takes a significant amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Requiring your brain to execute at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

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

Can memory issues be the outcome of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is a prevalent symptom. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is particularly 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 depression and anxiety: Studies have demonstrated that neglected hearing loss can also lead to increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been shown to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t unusual for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. You’ll go out less frequently, talk with the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Over time, this kind of isolation can change the way your brain is functioning.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for people who have neglected hearing loss. This risk declines considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

All of these problems are obviously intertwined. Social solitude can worsen depression and other cognitive health issues. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social isolation.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more serious impacts of untreated hearing loss is a pronounced increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. Scientists have a few theories about why this might 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 down the road.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

The good news is, managing untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will certainly help. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we may suggest the following:

  • Regular screenings: Before any issues begin to happen, regular screenings can identify them. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • The use of hearing aids: Utilizing a hearing aid can help you hear better. This can lead to less strain on your mental 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 issues.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously discussed can be avoided and further damage can be reduced by the use of hearing protection.

You don’t need to stay forgetful!

You can restore strength of memory even if hearing loss is presently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your mental function, in many instances, will sharpen. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need 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 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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