Is Your Forgetfulness Resulting From Hearing Loss?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your overall life can be impacted by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear affected, but so too are your social life, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. Over time, hearing loss can intensely impact the way your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the link 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 linked.

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, the link is at least in part due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your cognitive abilities will improve.

How hearing loss effects memory

Hearing loss can be difficult to detect. It isn’t unusual for individuals to miss the more subtle and early signs. Hearing loss may only be detected, for people in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The progression of hearing loss is often gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult to detect. It’s often easy to dismiss symptoms and, essentially, raise 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 harder to understand what people are saying as a result. This is beneficial in that you will likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. However, compensating in this way requires substantial brain power. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

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

Can hearing loss lead to memory issues?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is often a notable presentation. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is particularly true. Though scientists aren’t entirely clear as to the cause and effect connection, hearing loss has been well linked to the following issues.:

  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals who have untreated hearing loss often exhibit an increased danger of dementia and cognitive decline. When the hearing loss is effectively managed, the risk diminishes significantly.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to untreated hearing loss is not uncommon according to numerous studies. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to decrease when the root hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t unusual for individuals to disengage from social contact when they have untreated 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 aren’t unrelated, of course. Social solitude can worsen depression and other mental health problems. And your risk of dementia also increases with social isolation.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

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 problems. It’s quite clear that management of the symptoms helps considerably and scientists have a few theories as to why. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to reduce mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia later in life.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

The good news is, managing untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is caused by hearing loss, will definitely help. Here are a few things we might recommend if hearing loss is identified:

  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously discussed can be avoided and additional damage can be reduced by the use of hearing protection.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can result in less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social scenario. By preventing and limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.
  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become significant problems. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

You can regain strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your cognitive function, in many instances, will sharpen. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t have to work so hard, and that rest can do a lot of good.

Scheduling an appointment with us can greatly improve your outlook and reduce your risk for other problems. Call 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.