Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-associated hearing loss can have broad impacts across your overall life. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your cognitive clarity can also be affected. The way your brain functions, including your memory and mood, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the connection between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. For instance, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory problems are linked to a loss of hearing. 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 improve.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be hard to detect. Often, people miss the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. For these individuals hearing loss might only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to develop rather slowly. It’s often easy to dismiss symptoms and, basically, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Another factor is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. Consequently, you might not notice that people are harder to understand. This is advantageous in that you will most likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. But it takes a considerable amount of brain power to compensate like this. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long time periods.:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue

We will be able to help you determine whether these symptoms are due to hearing loss or not. In situations where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to establish a treatment plan.

Can memory problems be the result of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is frequently a prominent presentation. This is particularly true of neglected hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship is not entirely understood, but it’s clear that there is a link between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of neglected hearing loss isn’t unusual according to numerous studies. Again, this risk has been shown to drop when the underlying hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t unusual for people to withdraw from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. You’ll go out less frequently, 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 dementia: People with neglected hearing loss frequently exhibit an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk declines considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

All of these issues are obviously intertwined. Social isolation can exacerbate depression and other cognitive health issues. And your risk of dementia also increases with social isolation.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more serious impacts of neglected hearing loss is a significant increase in your risk of mental 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 cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss induced forgetfulness

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

  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you detect problems with your hearing before they become substantial problems. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can prevent further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the cognitive strain outlined above.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. Your social life can be improved and your cognitive abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s worthwhile to highlight that it doesn’t have to stay that way. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your cognitive function, in many circumstances, will improve. When your brain doesn’t need to work as hard to hear, the rest can be very helpful.

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

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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.

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