Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your entire life can be impacted 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 functions, including your mood and memory, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

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

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, the link is at least partly due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your cognitive abilities will usually improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Noticing hearing loss can often be challenging. It isn’t uncommon for people to miss the more discreet and early signs. Hearing loss may only be recognized, for people in this category, when it becomes more severe. The development of hearing loss is frequently gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to notice. It’s commonly easy to dismiss 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. As a result, you might not notice that people are more difficult to understand. The positive thing about this is that your day-to-day life will have fewer disruptions. However, compensating in this way requires significant brain power. Requiring your brain to execute at this level for long durations can result in:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue

If you’re noticing these symptoms, we’ll be able to inform you whether the underlying cause is hearing loss or not. In instances where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Can memory issues be the outcome of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be impacted by hearing loss in other ways besides mental exhaustion. Forgetfulness is a prevalent symptom. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is especially true. The cause and effect relationship isn’t entirely understood, but it’s clear that there is a connection between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss can also result in increases in both depression and anxiety over time. And once more, when the root hearing loss has been managed, the risk factor drops significantly.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for people who have neglected hearing loss. This risk falls dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: It’s not uncommon for individuals to disengage from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. You’ll go out less frequently, talk with the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Over time, this type of solitude can change the way your brain is working.

All of these issues are obviously intertwined. Mental health problems, including depression, can be worsened by social solitude. Similarly, that type of isolation can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Does hearing loss cause cognitive decline?

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 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 caused by hearing loss, will definitely help. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we may recommend the following:

  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive decline previously mentioned can be avoided and further damage can be decreased by using hearing protection.
  • Regular screenings: Before any issues begin to happen, regular screenings can identify them. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent cognitive strain.
  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. This can result in less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social scenario. By preventing and decreasing social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.

You don’t have to stay forgetful!

You can regain strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. In many instances, 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 greatly improve your outlook and decrease your risk for other problems. 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.