Is Your Forgetfulness Resulting From Hearing Loss?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your whole life can be affected by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear affected, but also your social connections, your professional networks, and even your mental abilities. The way your brain functions, including your memory and mood, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. For example, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory troubles are linked to a loss of hearing. The sad reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, hearing loss puts a distinctive strain on your brain and that’s, at least to some extent, the link. Your cognitive abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Detecting hearing loss can often be challenging. Frequently, people fail to notice the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. For these people hearing loss may only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to progress quite slowly. Individuals often begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to ignore their symptoms.

Another aspect is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. You may not notice that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. This is advantageous in that you will probably experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires substantial brain power. Requiring your brain to execute at this level for long periods can result in:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

We will be able to help you determine whether these symptoms are a result of hearing loss or not. In instances where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to formulate 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 impact your brain. Forgetfulness is frequently a notable presentation. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is particularly true. The cause and effect relationship isn’t fully understood, but it’s clear that there is a connection between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Research has shown that neglected hearing loss can also cause increases in both depression and anxiety over time. And once more, when the underlying hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops significantly.
  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals with neglected hearing loss have been known to exhibit an increased risk of dementia and mental decline. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk diminishes substantially.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t unusual for individuals to disengage 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 type of isolation can change the way your brain is working.

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

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

Your risk of mental decline and dementia is increased by neglected hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious outcomes of neglecting your hearing issues. Scientists have a few theories about why this may be, but what’s obvious is that management of symptoms helps substantially. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to reduce mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia later in life.

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

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:

  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can prevent further degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the cognitive strain outlined above.
  • 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. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible problems can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you detect problems with your hearing before they become significant issues. Treating your hearing loss early can prevent mental strain.

You don’t need to stay forgetful!

You can restore strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. In many instances, cognitive functions will come back once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When your brain doesn’t need to work as hard to hear, the rest can be really helpful.

Scheduling an appointment with us can significantly 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.