Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have diverse impacts across your entire life. 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 intensely impact how your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

The relationship between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always apparent. For instance, 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. Unfortunately, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely linked.

What’s the connection between memory and hearing loss? Well, the relationship is at least partly related to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your mental abilities will improve.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Detecting hearing loss can frequently be difficult. It isn’t uncommon for people to miss the more subtle and early signs. For these people hearing loss might only become obvious once it has become moderate or severe. The development of hearing loss is usually slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult to notice. It’s commonly easy to disregard symptoms and, essentially, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

In addition, the human brain is very good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. As a result, you may not notice that people are harder to understand. This is advantageous in that you will likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. However, compensating in this way requires significant brain power. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long periods can lead to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

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

Can hearing loss cause memory issues?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is frequently a notable presentation. This is especially true of untreated hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship is not fully understood, but it’s obvious that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to untreated hearing loss isn’t unusual according to numerous studies. Again, this risk has been shown to decrease when the root hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with neglected hearing loss will frequently begin to separate themselves from other people. You’ll go out less frequently, talk with the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for people with untreated hearing loss. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk diminishes significantly.

These problems are not unrelated, of course. Mental health issues, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social solitude.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

One of the more severe impacts of untreated hearing loss is a significant increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps considerably and scientists have a number of 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 down the road.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

The good news is, managing untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is caused by hearing loss, will certainly help. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we might suggest the following:

  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. This can lead to less strain on your mental abilities and an improvement in your social scenario. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible problems can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • 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 begin to occur, routine screenings can identify them. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early treatment.

You don’t have to remain forgetful!

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 cognitive function, in many circumstances, will improve. When your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear, the rest can be very helpful.

Making 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.