Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related 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.

The link between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always obvious. People typically don’t associate their memory issues, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. The sad truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What’s the connection between memory and hearing loss? Well, hearing loss puts a unique strain on your brain and that’s, at least in part, the connection. Your mental abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Hearing loss can be difficult to detect. It isn’t unusual for people to miss the more subtle and early signs. Hearing loss may only be recognized, for people in this category, when it becomes more severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to progress rather slowly. It’s commonly easy to disregard symptoms and, essentially, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Another aspect is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. Consequently, you might not notice that people are harder to understand. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer interruptions. However, compensating like this requires considerable brain power. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability

We will be able to help you figure out whether these symptoms are a result of hearing loss or not. If it’s determined that you’re dealing with hearing loss, we can help you develop the best treatment plan.

Can memory problems be the outcome of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides mental exhaustion. Forgetfulness is a prevalent symptom. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is particularly true. The cause and effect relationship isn’t entirely understood, but it’s obvious that there is a connection between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to neglected hearing loss is not unusual according to multiple studies. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to decrease when the root hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t uncommon for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. They will frequently avoid conversations and will do things like using self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Over time, this sort of solitude can alter the way your brain is working.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People who have untreated hearing loss often exhibit an increased danger of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk drops dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

All of these problems are obviously intertwined. Mental health issues, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social isolation.

Does hearing loss cause cognitive decline?

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. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps considerably and scientists have a few theories as to why. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow cognitive decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

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

  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive decline previously mentioned can be avoided and further damage can be minimized by using hearing protection.
  • 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. By avoiding and limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.
  • Regular screenings: Before any problems start to happen, regular screenings can detect them. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent cognitive strain.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

You can regain strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. In many instances, cognitive functions will return once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a world of good.

Scheduling an appointment with us can drastically 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.