Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have diverse impacts across your overall 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 mood and memory, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. People normally don’t relate their memory issues, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. The unfortunate truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

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

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be difficult to notice. Often, people miss the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss might only be identified, for people in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The advancement of hearing loss is usually slow over time and that’s in part why it’s initially difficult to detect. It’s commonly easy to dismiss symptoms and, essentially, raise the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

In addition, the human brain is quite good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. You may not detect that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. This is advantageous in that you will probably experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. However, compensating in this way requires considerable brain power. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

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

Can hearing loss lead to memory issues?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is often a notable presentation. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is especially true. Even though scientists aren’t perfectly clear as to the cause and effect connection, hearing loss has been solidly connected to the following problems.:

  • Increased risk of dementia: The risk of dementia and other forms of mental decline is greater for individuals with neglected hearing loss. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk goes down substantially.
  • Social isolation: It’s not uncommon for people to disengage from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. You’ll go out less frequently, talk with 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 depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to neglected hearing loss isn’t uncommon according to multiple studies. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is effectively managed.

These issues aren’t unrelated, of course. Mental health problems, including depression, can be intensified by social solitude. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social solitude.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more serious impacts of untreated hearing loss is a pronounced increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. It’s very 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 mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

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

  • Hearing protection: The utilization of hearing protection can counter further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.
  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you detect issues with your hearing before they become significant problems. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • 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 situation. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.

You don’t have to stay forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a little forgetful, it’s important to highlight that it doesn’t have to stay that way. In many instances, mental 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 lot of good.

Making an appointment with us can significantly improve your outlook and decrease your risk for other issues. Call us today!

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