Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your overall life can be affected by age-related hearing loss. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your mental clarity can also be impacted. The way your brain works, including your memory and mood, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

The relationship between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always evident. For instance, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory troubles are linked to a loss of hearing. 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 distinctive strain on your brain and that’s, at least to some extent, the link. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your mental abilities will sharpen.

How hearing loss effects memory

Detecting hearing loss can frequently be challenging. Often, people miss the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. For these individuals hearing loss might only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. The development of hearing loss is often slow over time and that’s in part why it’s initially difficult to notice. It’s often easy to ignore 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. Consequently, you may not notice that people are more difficult to understand. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer disruptions. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate like this. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, we’ll be able to tell you whether the underlying cause is hearing loss or not. If it’s established that you’re dealing with hearing loss, we can help you formulate the best treatment plan.

Can hearing loss lead to memory problems?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides mental exhaustion. Forgetfulness is often a prominent presentation. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is especially true. Although scientists aren’t perfectly clear as to the cause and effect connection, hearing loss has been well linked to the following issues.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to untreated hearing loss isn’t unusual according to numerous studies. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to drop when the underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People who have untreated hearing loss have been known to exhibit an increased risk of dementia and mental decline. This risk falls dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with untreated hearing loss will often begin to isolate themselves from other people. They will often avoid conversations and will do things like using self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Over time, this kind of isolation can alter the way your brain is functioning.

All of these issues are obviously intertwined. 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?

One of the more serious impacts of neglected hearing loss is a marked increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. It’s quite clear that management of the symptoms helps substantially and scientists have a number of theories as to why. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow down mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss induced forgetfulness

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

  • 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 issues can be decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Hearing protection: Using hearing protection can counter additional degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you detect issues with your hearing before they become significant problems. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.

You don’t have to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s important to highlight that it doesn’t have to stay that way. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your cognitive function, in many cases, will sharpen. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a lot of good.

Scheduling an appointment with us can greatly improve your outlook and decrease your risk for other issues. 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.