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 mental clarity can also be affected. The way your brain works, including your memory and mood, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

The link between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always evident. For example, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory problems are associated with a loss of hearing. Sadly, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely related.

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, the connection is at least in part the result of the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your mental abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss effects memory

Hearing loss can be difficult to notice. It’s not unusual for individuals to miss the more subtle and early signs. For these people hearing loss may only become evident 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 detect. People often begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to dismiss their symptoms.

In addition, the human brain is quite good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. You might 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. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long time periods.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability

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

Can memory problems be the result of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is often a prominent presentation. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is particularly true. Though 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 dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of mental decline is greater for people with neglected hearing loss. This risk drops considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: People with neglected hearing loss will frequently begin to separate themselves from others. You’ll go out less often, chat with the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Over time, this kind of solitude can alter the way your brain is functioning.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have demonstrated that untreated hearing loss can also result in increases in both depression and anxiety over time. And once again, when the underlying hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops considerably.

These issues are not unrelated, of course. Mental health issues, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. Similarly, that type of solitude can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by neglected hearing loss, and that’s one of the more severe outcomes of neglecting your hearing issues. Scientists have a few theories about why this may be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps significantly. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow down cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia down the road.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

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 might suggest if hearing loss is identified:

  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. This can lead to less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social situation. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible problems can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Regular screenings: Before any issues start to happen, routine screenings can identify them. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent mental strain.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive decline previously discussed can be avoided and additional damage can be decreased by the use of hearing protection.

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 have to stay that way. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your cognitive function, in many circumstances, will improve. When your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear, the rest can be very helpful.

Schedule an appointment with us so that we can help you substantially 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.