Is Your Forgetfulness Resulting From Hearing Loss?

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 mood and memory, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

The connection between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always obvious. For example, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory problems are associated with a loss of hearing. The sad truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

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

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be hard to notice. Often, individuals fail to notice the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss may only be detected, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The progression of hearing loss is usually gradual over time and that’s in part why it’s initially hard to notice. It’s commonly easy to ignore symptoms and, basically, 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 more difficult 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 in this way requires significant brain power. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long periods can lead to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

We will be able to help you find out whether these symptoms are a result of hearing loss or not. In situations where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Can hearing loss result in memory problems?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. This is particularly true of untreated hearing loss. Though scientists aren’t perfectly clear as to the cause and effect connection, hearing loss has been well linked to the following problems.:

  • Social isolation: Individuals with untreated hearing loss will frequently begin to isolate themselves from others. They will often steer clear of conversations and will do things like using self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Over time, this kind of solitude can alter the way your brain is working.
  • 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.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The risk of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for individuals who have untreated hearing loss. This risk falls dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

These issues aren’t unrelated, of course. Mental health problems, including depression, can be intensified by social solitude. Likewise, that type of isolation can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more extreme impacts of untreated hearing loss is a marked increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. It’s quite clear that management of the symptoms helps substantially and scientists have a few theories as to why. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to reduce cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

The good news is, managing neglected hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will certainly help. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we may suggest the following:

  • The use of hearing aids: Utilizing a hearing aid can help you hear better. 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: Some of the mental decline previously discussed can be avoided and further damage can be decreased by using hearing protection.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become substantial issues. Treating your hearing loss early can prevent cognitive strain.

You can improve your memory

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s important to highlight that it doesn’t need to remain that way. In many instances, mental functions will come back once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear, the rest can be very helpful.

Making 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.

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