Could 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 affected, but so too are your social life, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact the way your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

The relationship 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. The unfortunate reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, hearing loss puts a unique strain on your brain and that’s, at least to some extent, the link. Your mental abilities will usually improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Hearing loss can be hard to notice. It’s not uncommon for individuals to miss the more subtle and early signs. Hearing loss might only be detected, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to advance quite gradually. People frequently begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

In addition, the human brain is quite good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. You may not detect that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer interruptions. But it takes a considerable amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long time periods.:

  • 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 problems be the outcome of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. This is particularly true of neglected hearing loss. Even though scientists aren’t completely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been solidly connected to the following problems.:

  • Social isolation: People with untreated hearing loss will often begin to separate themselves from other people. You’ll go out less frequently, talk to the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals with neglected hearing loss often exhibit an increased danger of dementia and cognitive decline. When the hearing loss is effectively managed, the risk decreases significantly.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Research has 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.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Social isolation can worsen depression and other cognitive health problems. Likewise, that type of isolation can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by untreated hearing loss, and that’s one of the more severe outcomes of neglecting your hearing issues. It’s very 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 slow down cognitive decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

If your fatigue and forgetfulness are caused by untreated hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can definitely have a positive effect. Here are a number of things we may recommend if hearing loss is identified:

  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become significant issues. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent mental strain.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can lead to less strain on your mental abilities and an improvement in your social situation. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously discussed can be avoided and additional damage can be minimized by using hearing protection.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s important to emphasize that it doesn’t need to stay 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 really helpful.

Scheduling an appointment with us can greatly improve your outlook and reduce your risk for other problems. Call us today!

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Schedule an appointment to see if hearing aids could benefit you.