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. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your cognitive clarity can also be affected. The way your brain works, including your memory and mood, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

The link between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always apparent. For instance, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory issues are linked to a loss of hearing. Unfortunately, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely related.

What’s the connection between memory and hearing loss? Well, hearing loss puts a distinctive strain on your brain and that’s, at least to some extent, the connection. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your mental abilities will improve.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be hard to detect. It’s not uncommon for individuals to miss the more subtle and early signs. For these people hearing loss might only become noticeable once it has become moderate or severe. The advancement of hearing loss is often slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult to detect. It’s commonly easy to disregard symptoms and, basically, raise the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Another aspect is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. You might not detect that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. This is beneficial in that you will most likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate like this. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue

If you’re having these symptoms, we’ll be able to tell you whether the underlying cause is hearing loss or not. If it’s established that you’re dealing with hearing loss, we can help you formulate the best treatment plan.

Can hearing loss lead to memory problems?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is a prevalent symptom. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is particularly true. Even though scientists aren’t entirely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been strongly connected to the following problems.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Research has shown that untreated hearing loss can also lead to increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to drop when the root hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t uncommon for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. They will frequently avoid conversations and will do things like using self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals with untreated hearing loss often exhibit an increased danger of dementia and mental decline. This risk declines dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

These issues are not unrelated, of course. Social solitude can exacerbate depression and other cognitive health problems. And your risk of dementia also increases with social solitude.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more extreme impacts of neglected hearing loss is a marked increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps considerably and scientists have a number of theories as to why. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to reduce mental decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss induced forgetfulness

If your fatigue and memory loss are caused by neglected hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can absolutely have a positive impact. Here are a few things we may recommend if hearing loss is detected:

  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you detect problems with your hearing before they become significant problems. Treating 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 situation. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible problems can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive 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 worthwhile to emphasize that it doesn’t need to stay that way. In many cases, cognitive functions will return 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.