Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have broad impacts across your overall life. Not only is your ability to hear affected, but also your social life, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. Over time, hearing loss can intensely impact how your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

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

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, the relationship is at least partly due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your cognitive abilities will sharpen.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be hard to detect. Often, individuals miss the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. For these people hearing loss might only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to progress quite gradually. Individuals frequently begin raising the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

In addition, the human brain is really good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. You may not detect that it’s becoming more difficult to understand what people are saying as a result. This is beneficial in that you will probably experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. But it takes a considerable amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long periods can lead to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability

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 establish a treatment plan.

Can memory issues be the outcome of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides mental exhaustion. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is especially 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 issues:

  • Social isolation: People with untreated hearing loss will frequently begin to isolate themselves from other people. They will often avoid conversations and will do things like using self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Over time, this type of solitude can alter the way your brain is working.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Research has demonstrated that neglected hearing loss can also result in increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals with untreated hearing loss often exhibit an increased danger of dementia and mental decline. This risk drops considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Social isolation can exacerbate depression and other cognitive health problems. Similarly, that kind of solitude can also raise your risk of developing dementia.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

One of the more serious impacts of neglected hearing loss is a significant 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, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow down cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

If your fatigue and forgetfulness are caused by neglected hearing loss, the good news is that managing your hearing loss symptoms can definitely have a positive impact. Here are a few things we might recommend if hearing loss is identified:

  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become substantial issues. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early management.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. Your social life can be improved and your mental abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. By preventing and reducing social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive decline previously mentioned can be avoided and additional damage can be minimized by using hearing protection.

You don’t have to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a little forgetful, it’s important to highlight that it doesn’t need to remain that way. In many circumstances, mental functions will return 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 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.