Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your whole 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 mental abilities. The way your brain works, including your mood and memory, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

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 sad reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, the link is at least partly the result of the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your mental abilities will improve.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Detecting hearing loss can often be difficult. Often, individuals miss the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. For these individuals hearing loss may only become evident once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to develop quite gradually. Individuals frequently begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

Another factor is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. You may not notice that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. This is beneficial in that you will probably experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. However, compensating in this way requires substantial brain power. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long periods can lead to:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability

We will be able to help you determine whether these symptoms are due to 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 result of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is frequently a prominent presentation. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is particularly true. The cause and effect relationship is not entirely understood, but it’s obvious that there is a connection between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Social isolation: People with untreated hearing loss will often begin to isolate themselves from other people. You’ll go out less often, talk to the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to neglected 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: Individuals with neglected hearing loss frequently exhibit an increased danger of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk falls dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

All of these issues are obviously intertwined. Mental health problems, including depression, can be intensified by social solitude. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social solitude.

Can mental 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 problems. Scientists have some theories about why this might be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps significantly. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow mental decline and decrease 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 neglected hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can absolutely have a positive effect. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we might suggest the following:

  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive decline previously discussed can be avoided and additional damage can be decreased 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: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can lead to less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social scenario. By preventing and reducing social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.

You don’t have to stay forgetful!

You can restore strength of memory even if hearing loss is presently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your mental function, in many instances, will improve. When your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear, the rest can be very helpful.

Make an appointment with us so that we can help you significantly improve your outlook and decrease your risk of other problems.

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.