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 entire life. Not only is your ability to hear affected, but so too are your social connections, your professional networks, and even your mental abilities. The way your brain functions, including your memory and mood, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is elusive. People usually don’t relate their memory issues, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the very first symptoms. The sad truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What’s the connection between memory and hearing loss? Well, hearing loss puts a distinctive strain on your brain and that’s, at least in part, the link. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your mental abilities will sharpen.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be difficult to detect. Often, people miss the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. Hearing loss might only be detected, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more 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 disregard their symptoms.

In addition, the human brain is very good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. You may not notice that it’s becoming more difficult to understand what people are saying as a result. This is advantageous in that you will most likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. But it takes a significant amount of brain power to compensate like this. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability

We will be able to help you determine whether these symptoms are a result of hearing loss or not. In cases where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to establish a treatment plan.

Can memory problems be the outcome of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. This is particularly true of untreated hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship is not entirely understood, but it’s clear that there is a link between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Social isolation: It’s not unusual for individuals to disengage 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 kind of solitude can change the way your brain is functioning.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People with neglected hearing loss frequently have an increased risk of dementia and mental decline. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk diminishes substantially.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Research has shown that untreated hearing loss can also lead to increases in both depression and anxiety over time. And once again, when the root hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops substantially.

All of these problems are obviously intertwined. Mental health issues, including depression, can be worsened by social isolation. And your risk of dementia also increases with social solitude.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

One of the more extreme impacts of neglected hearing loss is a significant increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. It’s quite clear that management of the symptoms helps substantially and scientists have a few theories as to why. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

Dealing with hearing loss induced forgetfulness

The good news is, treating untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is caused by hearing loss, will definitely help. Here are a number of things we may suggest if hearing loss is detected:

  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can counter further degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.
  • Regular screenings: Before any issues start to happen, regular screenings can detect them. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. Your social life can be improved and your cognitive abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.

You can improve your memory

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s worthwhile to highlight that it doesn’t have to remain that way. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your cognitive function, in many instances, will improve. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t have to work so hard, and that rest can do a lot of good.

Scheduling an appointment with us can drastically improve your outlook and decrease your risk for other problems. 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.