Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your entire life can be affected by age-related hearing loss. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your mental clarity can also be impacted. The way your brain works, including your memory and mood, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. People normally don’t associate their memory problems, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. The unfortunate 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 unique strain on your brain and that’s, at least to some extent, the connection. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your cognitive abilities will sharpen.

How hearing loss effects memory

Hearing loss can be hard to notice. Often, individuals miss the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss may only be identified, for people in this category, when it becomes more severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to develop quite gradually. Individuals frequently begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

Another aspect is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. As a result, you may not notice that people are harder to understand. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer interruptions. However, compensating like this requires significant brain power. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long periods can result in:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability

If you’re having these symptoms, we’ll be able to inform you whether the root cause is hearing loss or not. In situations where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to formulate a treatment plan.

Can hearing loss lead to memory problems?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is a prevalent symptom. This is especially true of neglected hearing loss. Although scientists aren’t perfectly clear as to the cause and effect connection, hearing loss has been well connected to the following problems.:

  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for people who have untreated hearing loss. When the hearing loss is effectively managed, the risk decreases significantly.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Research has demonstrated that neglected hearing loss can also lead to increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been shown to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with neglected hearing loss will often begin to isolate themselves from others. They will frequently steer clear of conversations and will do things like using self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Over time, this type of isolation can alter the way your brain is working.

These issues are not unrelated, of course. Mental health issues, including depression, can be intensified by social solitude. Similarly, that type of isolation can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more severe impacts of untreated hearing loss is a pronounced increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. It’s quite 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 down mental decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

The good news is, treating untreated 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:

  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive decline previously discussed can be avoided and additional damage can be minimized by the use of hearing protection.
  • Regular screenings: Before any problems start to occur, routine screenings can identify them. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.
  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. This can result in less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social scenario. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.

You don’t have to stay forgetful!

You can regain strength of memory even if hearing loss is presently causing a little forgetfulness. In many circumstances, cognitive functions will come back once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When your brain doesn’t need 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 decrease 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.