Could Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-associated hearing loss can have broad impacts across your whole life. 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 substantially affected by hearing loss.

The connection between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always apparent. For example, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory problems are associated with a loss of hearing. Unfortunately, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely connected.

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, hearing loss puts a unique strain on your brain and that’s, at least in part, the connection. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your cognitive abilities will improve.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Detecting hearing loss can often be difficult. It’s not uncommon for people to miss the more subtle and early signs. For these people hearing loss may only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. The advancement of hearing loss is often gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult to detect. People frequently begin raising the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

Another aspect is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. Consequently, you might not notice that people are harder to understand. The positive thing about this is that your day-to-day life will have fewer interruptions. However, compensating like this requires substantial brain power. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long periods can lead to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability

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

Can hearing loss result in memory problems?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is often a prominent presentation. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is particularly true. Although 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: People with neglected hearing loss frequently have an increased danger of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk drops dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with untreated hearing loss will often begin to separate themselves from others. They will often avoid conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Over time, this type of solitude can change the way your brain is working.
  • 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 shown to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.

These issues are not unrelated, of course. Mental health issues, including depression, can be intensified by social solitude. Similarly, that type of isolation can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Can mental 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. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps considerably and scientists have a number of theories as to why. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow mental decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

The good news is, managing untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is caused by hearing loss, will definitely help. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we might recommend the following:

  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive decline previously discussed can be avoided and additional damage can be reduced by the use of hearing protection.
  • Regular screenings: Before any issues start to occur, routine screenings can identify them. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent cognitive strain.
  • The use of hearing aids: Utilizing a hearing aid can help you hear better. 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 issues.

You don’t have to stay forgetful!

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

Making an appointment with us can drastically improve your outlook and reduce 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.