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 affected, but so too are your social life, your professional networks, and even your mental abilities. Over time, hearing loss can intensely impact how your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

The relationship between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always obvious. People typically don’t associate their memory problems, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the very first symptoms. Unfortunately, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely linked.

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

How hearing loss effects memory

Noticing hearing loss can frequently be difficult. Often, individuals fail to notice the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. For these people hearing loss may only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. The progression of hearing loss is often gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to detect. Individuals often begin raising the volume on their devices more and more and tend to dismiss their symptoms.

Another aspect is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. As a result, you might not notice that people are harder to understand. The positive thing about this is that your day-to-day life will have fewer interruptions. However, compensating in this way requires substantial brain power. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

If you’re having these symptoms, we’ll be able to tell you whether the underlying 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 result in memory issues?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is often a prominent presentation. This is particularly true of neglected hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship isn’t fully understood, but it’s obvious that there is a link between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to neglected hearing loss isn’t unusual according to multiple studies. And once again, when the root hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops considerably.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with neglected hearing loss will often begin to isolate themselves from others. You’ll go out less often, chat with the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People who have neglected hearing loss frequently have an increased danger of dementia and mental decline. This risk declines dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Social isolation can worsen depression and other cognitive health issues. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social isolation.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more extreme impacts of untreated hearing loss is a significant increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. Scientists have a few theories about why this might be, but what’s obvious is that management of symptoms helps considerably. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia down the road.

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

If your fatigue and forgetfulness are caused by untreated hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can definitely have a positive effect. Here are a few things we might suggest if hearing loss is identified:

  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you detect issues with your hearing before they become substantial problems. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • The use of hearing aids: Using 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 decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can counter further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the cognitive strain outlined above.

You can improve your memory

If hearing loss is causing you to be a little forgetful, it’s important to highlight that it doesn’t have to stay that way. In many instances, mental functions will return once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear, the rest can be very helpful.

Make an appointment with us so that we can help you significantly improve your outlook and reduce your risk of other issues.

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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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