Is Your Forgetfulness The Result of Hearing Loss?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your entire life can be impacted by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but so too are your social life, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. The way your brain works, including your mood and memory, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

The relationship between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always evident. People normally don’t relate their memory issues, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the very first symptoms. Unfortunately, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely connected.

What’s the connection between memory and hearing loss? Well, the connection is at least partly the result of 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 memory is impacted by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be hard to notice. It isn’t uncommon for people to miss the more discreet and early signs. For these people hearing loss might only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to develop rather slowly. It’s commonly easy to dismiss symptoms and, basically, raise 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. As a result, you might not notice that people are harder to understand. This is beneficial in that you will most likely experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. But it takes a significant 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.:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue

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

Can memory problems be the outcome 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 particularly true of neglected hearing loss. Though scientists aren’t completely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been well connected to the following issues.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have shown that untreated 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.
  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals who have neglected hearing loss frequently have an increased danger of dementia and mental decline. This risk declines dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t unusual for people to disengage from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. They will frequently avoid conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.

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

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

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

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

The good news is, treating neglected hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will definitely help. Here are a few things we might suggest if hearing loss is identified:

  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. Your social life can be improved and your mental abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. By avoiding and decreasing social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become substantial issues. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive decline previously discussed can be avoided and further damage can be minimized by using hearing protection.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s important to highlight that it doesn’t need to stay that way. In many cases, 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.

Making an appointment with us can greatly improve your outlook and decrease 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.