Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

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 connections, your professional networks, and even your mental abilities. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact the way your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

The link between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always obvious. For example, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory troubles are linked to a loss of hearing. Unfortunately, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely connected.

What’s the link between memory and hearing loss? Well, the relationship is at least partly due to 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 detect. Frequently, individuals miss the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss may only be recognized, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The development of hearing loss is often gradual over time and that’s in part why it’s initially difficult to detect. It’s often easy to ignore symptoms and, essentially, raise 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. As a result, you might not notice that people are more difficult to understand. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer disruptions. However, compensating like this requires considerable brain power. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long periods can result in:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability

We will be able to help you find out whether these symptoms are a result of 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 memory problems be the result of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides mental exhaustion. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. This is particularly true of neglected hearing loss. Although scientists aren’t completely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been strongly connected to the following problems.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to untreated hearing loss is not uncommon according to multiple studies. And once more, when the root hearing loss has been managed, the risk factor drops significantly.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The risk of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for people with untreated hearing loss. This risk drops considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with untreated hearing loss will frequently begin to isolate themselves from other people. They will frequently steer clear of conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Over time, this kind of isolation can change the way your brain is functioning.

All of these problems are obviously intertwined. Mental health problems, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. Likewise, that type of isolation can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Does hearing loss cause cognitive decline?

One of the more severe impacts of untreated hearing loss is a significant increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. 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 slow mental 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 neglected hearing loss, the good news is that managing your hearing loss symptoms can definitely have a positive effect. Here are a number of things we may suggest if hearing loss is detected:

  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can prevent additional degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the cognitive strain outlined above.
  • The use of hearing aids: Utilizing 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. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify issues with your hearing before they become significant issues. Treating your hearing loss early can prevent mental 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 have to remain that way. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your mental function, in many circumstances, will improve. When your brain doesn’t need to work as hard to hear, the rest can be very helpful.

Making an appointment with us can drastically improve your outlook and reduce 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.