Is Your Forgetfulness Due to Hearing Loss?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have broad impacts across your overall life. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your cognitive clarity can also be impacted. The way your brain functions, including your mood and memory, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. People typically don’t relate their memory issues, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. Sadly, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely connected.

What’s the link between memory and hearing loss? Well, hearing loss puts a unique strain on your brain and that’s, at least to some extent, the link. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your mental abilities will improve.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Detecting hearing loss can frequently be difficult. Frequently, individuals miss the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss may only be detected, for people in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The advancement of hearing loss is usually slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to notice. It’s often easy to dismiss symptoms and, essentially, turn up 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. You may not detect that it’s becoming more difficult to understand what people are saying as a result. This is beneficial in that you will probably experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. However, compensating in this way requires considerable brain power. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

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

Can memory issues be the outcome of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is frequently a prominent presentation. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is particularly true. The cause and effect relationship isn’t fully understood, but it’s obvious that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of mental decline is greater for people who have neglected hearing loss. This risk drops considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of neglected hearing loss isn’t unusual according to multiple studies. And once again, when the underlying hearing loss has been managed, the risk factor drops considerably.
  • Social isolation: It’s not unusual for individuals to disengage from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. You’ll go out less frequently, 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.

These issues aren’t unrelated, of course. Social solitude can exacerbate depression and other mental health issues. Likewise, that kind of solitude can also raise your risk of developing dementia.

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 consequences of neglecting your hearing problems. Scientists have a few theories about why this might be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps substantially. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow down cognitive decline and lower your risk of developing dementia later in life.

Dealing with hearing loss induced forgetfulness

If your fatigue and memory loss are caused by neglected hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can definitely have a positive impact. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we might recommend the following:

  • Regular screenings: Before any issues begin to occur, routine screenings can detect them. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent cognitive strain.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can result in less strain on your mental abilities and an improvement in your social situation. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can prevent further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the cognitive strain outlined above.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

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. In many circumstances, cognitive functions will return 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 very helpful.

Make an appointment with us so that we can help you substantially improve your outlook and decrease your risk of other issues.

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.