Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have diverse impacts across your entire life. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your cognitive clarity can also be impacted. The way your brain works, including your memory and mood, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

The relationship between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always apparent. People normally don’t associate their memory problems, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the very first symptoms. The sad reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What’s the connection between memory and hearing loss? Well, the relationship is at least in part due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your cognitive abilities will usually improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss effects memory

Noticing hearing loss can often be challenging. Often, individuals miss 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 advancement of hearing loss is usually slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to detect. It’s commonly easy to dismiss symptoms and, basically, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

In addition, the human brain is quite good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. Consequently, you may not notice that people are more difficult to understand. This is beneficial in that you will likely experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

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

Can hearing loss result in 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 untreated hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship is not fully understood, but it’s clear that there is a connection between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of dementia: People with neglected hearing loss often exhibit an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. When the hearing loss is effectively managed, the risk diminishes significantly.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to untreated hearing loss is not unusual according to multiple studies. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to decrease when the root hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with untreated hearing loss will frequently begin to isolate themselves from other people. They will often steer clear of conversations and will do things like using self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Over time, this type of solitude can alter the way your brain is working.

All of these issues are obviously intertwined. Social isolation can worsen depression and other mental health problems. Likewise, that type of isolation can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Does hearing loss cause cognitive decline?

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

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

If your fatigue and memory loss are caused by neglected hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can absolutely have a positive impact. Here are a number of things we might suggest if hearing loss is identified:

  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously discussed can be avoided and further damage can be minimized by the use of hearing protection.
  • 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 situation. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible problems can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Regular screenings: Before any issues start to happen, regular screenings can detect them. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.

You don’t have to stay forgetful!

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

Scheduling an appointment with us can significantly improve your outlook and decrease 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.
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