Is Your Forgetfulness Due to Hearing Loss?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-associated hearing loss can have diverse impacts across your whole life. 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.

Sometimes, the link between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. For instance, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory troubles are associated with 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 connection is at least in part due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your mental abilities will improve.

How hearing loss effects memory

Noticing hearing loss can frequently be challenging. Frequently, individuals miss the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss might only be recognized, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The advancement of hearing loss is often slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to detect. It’s commonly easy to disregard symptoms and, basically, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Additionally, the human brain is really good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. Consequently, you may not notice that people are harder to understand. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer disruptions. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate like this. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

We will be able to help you find out 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 issues be the result of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be impacted by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is frequently a notable presentation. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is particularly true. The cause and effect relationship is not fully understood, but it’s obvious that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Social isolation: It’s not unusual for people to disengage from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. They will often avoid conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals who have neglected hearing loss have been known to have an increased risk of dementia and mental decline. This risk falls considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • 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. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to decrease when the root hearing loss is successfully managed.

These problems are not unrelated, of course. Mental health issues, including depression, can be worsened by social isolation. 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 untreated hearing loss is a significant increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Scientists have a few theories about why this might be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps considerably. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to reduce cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

If your fatigue and forgetfulness are caused by untreated hearing loss, the good news is that managing your hearing loss symptoms can absolutely have a positive impact. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we may suggest the following:

  • Hearing protection: Using hearing protection can prevent further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the mental strain outlined above.
  • 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 situation. By avoiding and limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.
  • Regular screenings: Before any problems begin to happen, routine screenings can identify them. Treating your hearing loss early can prevent cognitive strain.

You can improve your memory

If hearing loss is causing you to be a little forgetful, it’s important to emphasize that it doesn’t need to remain that way. In many instances, 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 really helpful.

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