Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have diverse impacts across your overall life. Not only is your ability to hear affected, but so too are your social connections, your professional networks, and even your mental abilities. Over time, hearing loss can intensely impact how your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the link between hearing loss and cognition is elusive. People typically don’t relate their memory problems, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. Sadly, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely connected.

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, hearing loss puts a unique strain on your brain and that’s, at least to some extent, the link. Your cognitive abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be hard to detect. It isn’t unusual for individuals to miss the more subtle and early signs. For these people hearing loss may only become noticeable once it has become moderate or severe. The progression of hearing loss is usually slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult to detect. It’s commonly easy to ignore 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. As a result, you might not notice that people are more difficult to understand. This is beneficial in that you will most likely experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate like this. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long time periods.:

  • 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 develop a treatment plan.

Can hearing loss result in memory problems?

Obviously, your brain can be impacted by hearing loss in other ways besides mental exhaustion. Forgetfulness is frequently a notable presentation. This is particularly true of neglected hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship is not fully understood, but it’s clear that there is a link between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Social isolation: People with neglected hearing loss will often begin to isolate themselves from others. You’ll go out less often, talk with the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Over time, this kind of isolation can alter the way your brain is functioning.
  • 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. And once more, when the root hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops significantly.
  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals who have neglected hearing loss often exhibit an increased danger of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk falls considerably 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 isolation.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more extreme impacts of untreated hearing loss is a significant increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Scientists have some theories about why this may be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps substantially. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to reduce mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia later in life.

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

If your fatigue and memory loss are caused by neglected hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can definitely have a positive impact. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we may suggest the following:

  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can result in less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social situation. By preventing and limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously mentioned can be avoided and further damage can be reduced by the use of hearing protection.
  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you detect issues with your hearing before they become significant problems. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s important to emphasize that it doesn’t have to stay that way. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your cognitive 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 substantially improve your outlook and reduce 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.