Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your overall life can be impacted by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but so too are your social connections, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact how your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the link between hearing loss and cognition is elusive. For example, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory issues are associated with a loss of hearing. Sadly, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely related.

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

How hearing loss impacts memory

Noticing hearing loss can frequently be challenging. It isn’t uncommon for people to miss the more subtle and early signs. Hearing loss might only be detected, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to advance rather slowly. It’s commonly easy to disregard symptoms and, basically, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Additionally, the human brain is really good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. You may not notice that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. This is advantageous in that you will most likely experience fewer disruptions 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 periods of time.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability

If you’re noticing these symptoms, we’ll be able to tell you whether the underlying cause is hearing loss or not. If it’s established that you’re dealing with hearing loss, we can help you develop the best treatment plan.

Can memory issues be the result of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is especially true. Though scientists aren’t completely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been solidly connected to the following issues.:

  • Social isolation: It isn’t unusual for individuals 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. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People who have untreated hearing loss frequently have an increased danger of dementia and mental decline. This risk falls dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have demonstrated that untreated hearing loss can also lead to increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to drop when the root hearing loss is effectively managed.

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

Does hearing loss cause cognitive decline?

One of the more severe impacts of neglected hearing loss is a significant increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. Scientists have some 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 down cognitive decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

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

  • The use of hearing aids: Utilizing a hearing aid can help you hear better. 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 reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Regular screenings: Before any problems begin to happen, routine screenings can identify them. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • Hearing protection: The utilization of hearing protection can counter further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the cognitive strain outlined above.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a little forgetful, it’s important to highlight that it doesn’t need to stay that way. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your mental function, in many instances, will sharpen. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t have to work so hard, and that rest can do a lot of good.

Schedule an appointment with us so that we can help you significantly improve your outlook and decrease 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.