Is Your Forgetfulness Resulting From Hearing Loss?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-associated hearing loss can have broad impacts across your whole life. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but also your social life, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly 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. For instance, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory issues are associated with a loss of hearing. The unfortunate reality 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 unique strain on your brain and that’s, at least to some extent, the connection. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your cognitive abilities will sharpen.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Detecting hearing loss can frequently be difficult. It’s not unusual for people to miss the more subtle and early signs. For these people hearing loss may only become evident once it has become moderate or severe. The development of hearing loss is frequently gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to notice. Individuals often begin raising the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

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. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer disruptions. However, compensating like this requires considerable brain power. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue

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

Can hearing loss lead to memory issues?

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

  • Social isolation: It isn’t uncommon for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. They will often steer clear of 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 risk of dementia and cognitive decline. When the hearing loss is effectively managed, the risk decreases significantly.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of neglected hearing loss isn’t unusual according to multiple studies. Again, this risk has been shown to drop when the underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.

These problems aren’t unrelated, of course. Mental health problems, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. Likewise, that kind of isolation can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more serious impacts of untreated hearing loss is a marked increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. Scientists have a few theories about why this might be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps considerably. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia down the road.

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 effect. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we might suggest the following:

  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you identify issues with your hearing before they become substantial issues. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can lead to less strain on your mental abilities and an improvement in your social situation. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Hearing protection: Using hearing protection can prevent additional degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the cognitive strain described above.

You don’t need 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. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your mental function, in many instances, will improve. When your brain doesn’t need to work as hard to hear, the rest can be really helpful.

Make an appointment with us so that we can help you significantly 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.