Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

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 impacted, but so too are your social connections, your professional networks, and even your mental abilities. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact how your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

The link between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always evident. People normally don’t relate their memory problems, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. Sadly, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely connected.

What’s the connection between memory and hearing loss? Well, the relationship is at least partly the result of the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your mental abilities will usually improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Noticing hearing loss can often be challenging. Frequently, individuals fail to notice the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. Hearing loss may only be identified, for people in this category, when it becomes more severe. The development of hearing loss is usually gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to notice. People often begin raising the volume on their devices more and more and tend to dismiss their symptoms.

Additionally, the human brain is quite good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. As a result, you might not notice that people are more difficult to understand. This is beneficial in that you will most likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires significant brain power. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability

If you’re noticing these symptoms, we’ll be able to tell you whether the root cause is hearing loss or not. In cases where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to develop 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 a prevalent symptom. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is especially true. Although scientists aren’t perfectly clear as to the cause and effect connection, hearing loss has been strongly linked to the following problems.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Research has demonstrated that neglected hearing loss can also result in increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been shown to drop when the underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Social isolation: People with untreated hearing loss will frequently begin to separate themselves from other people. They will frequently steer clear of conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals with neglected hearing loss frequently have an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. When the hearing loss is effectively managed, the risk goes down substantially.

All of these problems are obviously intertwined. Mental health problems, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. Likewise, that kind of solitude can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more severe impacts of neglected hearing loss is a pronounced increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. Scientists have some theories about why this may be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps significantly. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

Dealing with hearing loss related 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. Here are a number of things we might recommend if hearing loss is identified:

  • Regular screenings: Before any issues begin to happen, routine screenings can identify them. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can counter additional degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.
  • 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 scenario. By preventing and decreasing social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.

You don’t need to stay forgetful!

You can regain strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your mental 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.