Could Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your entire life can be affected by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but so too are your social life, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. The way your brain works, including your mood and memory, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

The relationship between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always apparent. For example, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory troubles are associated with a loss of hearing. The sad truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What’s the link between memory and hearing loss? Well, the relationship is at least partly related to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your cognitive abilities will improve.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Noticing hearing loss can frequently be difficult. It’s not uncommon for individuals to miss the more discreet and early signs. Hearing loss might only be detected, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to advance quite slowly. It’s often easy to dismiss symptoms and, essentially, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Additionally, the human brain is quite good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. As a result, you might not notice that people are harder to understand. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer disruptions. However, compensating like this requires substantial brain power. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long periods can lead to:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

We will be able to help you determine whether these symptoms are due to hearing loss or not. If it’s established 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?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is especially true. The cause and effect relationship is not fully understood, but it’s obvious that there is a link between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Social isolation: Individuals with neglected hearing loss will often begin to separate themselves from other people. They will frequently steer clear of 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: The danger of dementia and other forms of mental decline is greater for people who have neglected hearing loss. When the hearing loss is effectively managed, the risk diminishes substantially.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to untreated hearing loss isn’t unusual according to multiple studies. Again, this risk has been shown to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.

All of these problems are obviously intertwined. Mental health problems, including depression, can be worsened by social solitude. And your risk of dementia also increases with social solitude.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by neglected hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious outcomes of neglecting your hearing problems. Scientists have a few theories about why this may be, but what’s obvious is that management of symptoms helps significantly. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

The good news is, managing untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will certainly help. Here are a number of things we might recommend if hearing loss is identified:

  • Hearing protection: The utilization of hearing protection can prevent further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the cognitive strain outlined above.
  • Regular screenings: Before any problems start to occur, routine screenings can identify them. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can lead to less strain on your mental abilities and an improvement in your social scenario. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible problems can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.

You don’t have to remain forgetful!

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

Scheduling an appointment with us can significantly 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.