Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your whole life can be impacted 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.

Sometimes, the link between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. For example, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory issues are linked to a loss of hearing. Unfortunately, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely related.

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, hearing loss puts a unique strain on your brain and that’s, at least to some extent, the connection. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your cognitive abilities will improve.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be hard to detect. It isn’t uncommon for people to miss the more subtle and early signs. Hearing loss might only be identified, for people in this category, when it becomes more extreme. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to advance rather slowly. Individuals frequently begin raising 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 might not notice that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer interruptions. But it takes a significant amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability

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

Can hearing loss result in memory problems?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is frequently a prominent presentation. This is particularly true of untreated hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship isn’t fully understood, but it’s obvious that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of dementia: People who have untreated hearing loss frequently exhibit an increased danger of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk declines dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have demonstrated that neglected hearing loss can also cause increases in both depression and anxiety over time. And once again, when the root hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops significantly.
  • Social isolation: It’s not uncommon for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. You’ll go out less often, chat with the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.

These problems are not unrelated, of course. Mental health problems, including depression, can be worsened by social solitude. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social solitude.

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 consequences of neglecting your hearing issues. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps significantly and scientists have a number of theories as to why. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to reduce cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

The good news is, managing untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will definitely help. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we might recommend the following:

  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously mentioned can be avoided and further damage can be decreased by using hearing protection.
  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. Your social life can be improved and your cognitive abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. By avoiding and limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.
  • Regular screenings: Before any problems start to occur, routine screenings can detect them. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent cognitive strain.

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 stay that way. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your mental function, in many circumstances, will sharpen. When your brain doesn’t need 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 issues.

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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.

Medical information dates as new research comes out all the time - if you have a concern about your hearing, please call us.

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