Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your whole life can be impacted by age-related hearing loss. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your mental clarity can also be affected. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact the way your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

The link between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always apparent. For instance, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory problems are linked to a loss of hearing. The sad reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What’s the link between memory and hearing loss? Well, hearing loss puts a distinctive strain on your brain and that’s, at least in part, the link. Your mental abilities will usually improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss effects memory

Hearing loss can be hard to detect. Often, people fail to notice the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. For these individuals hearing loss might only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. The progression of hearing loss is frequently gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to detect. It’s often easy to ignore symptoms and, basically, raise 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. You may not detect that it’s becoming more difficult to understand what people are saying as a result. This is beneficial in that you will probably experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. However, compensating in this way requires considerable brain power. Requiring your brain to execute at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue

We will be able to help you find out whether these symptoms are due to hearing loss or not. If it’s established that you are dealing with hearing loss, we can help you establish the best treatment plan.

Can memory issues 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 a common symptom. This is especially true of untreated hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship isn’t fully understood, but it’s clear that there is a link between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Social isolation: It isn’t uncommon for people to withdraw from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. You’ll go out less often, talk to the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Over time, this sort of isolation can alter the way your brain is working.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss can also result in increases in both depression and anxiety over time. And once again, when the underlying hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops substantially.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People with untreated hearing loss have been known to 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 isolation can worsen depression and other mental health issues. Likewise, that kind of solitude can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by neglected hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious consequences of neglecting your hearing issues. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps substantially and scientists have a few theories as to why. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

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

  • Hearing protection: Using hearing protection can prevent additional degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the mental 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. By preventing and limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become significant problems. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.

You can improve your memory

You can regain strength of memory even if hearing loss is presently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your mental function, in many cases, will sharpen. When your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear, the rest can be very helpful.

Schedule an appointment with us so that we can help you substantially improve your outlook and reduce your risk of other problems.

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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.