Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-associated hearing loss can have diverse impacts across your whole life. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your mental clarity can also be impacted. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact the way your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the connection between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. For instance, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory problems are associated with a loss of hearing. The sad reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What’s the connection between memory and hearing loss? Well, the relationship is at least partly the result of the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your cognitive abilities will improve.

How hearing loss effects memory

Detecting hearing loss can often be challenging. Often, people fail to notice the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. For these individuals hearing loss might only become evident 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 recognize. It’s commonly easy to dismiss symptoms and, essentially, turn up 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 may not notice that people are more difficult to understand. This is beneficial in that you will likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires considerable brain power. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long durations can result in:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability

We will be able to help you determine whether these symptoms are due to hearing loss or not. In cases where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to formulate 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 impact your brain. Forgetfulness is frequently a prominent presentation. This is especially true of neglected hearing loss. Though scientists aren’t completely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been strongly linked to the following issues.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to neglected hearing loss is not uncommon according to numerous studies. And once again, when the root hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops significantly.
  • Social isolation: It’s not unusual for individuals to disengage from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. They will often avoid conversations and will do things like using self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals who have untreated hearing loss often have an increased risk of dementia and mental decline. This risk falls dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Social solitude can exacerbate depression and other mental health issues. Similarly, that kind of isolation can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Does hearing loss cause cognitive decline?

One of the more extreme impacts of untreated hearing loss is a marked increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps substantially and scientists have a number of theories as to why. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow down mental decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

Dealing with hearing loss related 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 might recommend the following:

  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. Your social life can be improved and your mental abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Hearing protection: Using hearing protection can prevent additional degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.
  • Regular screenings: Before any problems start to happen, regular screenings can detect them. Treating your hearing loss early can prevent cognitive strain.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

You can recover strength of memory even if hearing loss is presently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your mental function, in many circumstances, will improve. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a world of good.

Scheduling an appointment with us can significantly improve your outlook and reduce 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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