Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your overall 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 substantially affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the connection between hearing loss and cognition is elusive. People typically don’t associate their memory problems, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the 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 link is at least partly the result of the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your cognitive abilities will sharpen.

How hearing loss effects memory

Hearing loss can be difficult to notice. Often, people fail to notice the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss might only be identified, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The advancement of hearing loss is usually slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult to detect. It’s commonly easy to disregard symptoms and, essentially, raise the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

In addition, the human brain is really good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. You may not detect that it’s becoming more difficult to understand what people are saying as a result. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer disruptions. However, compensating like this requires significant brain power. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long durations can result in:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability

We will be able to help you find out whether these symptoms are due to hearing loss or not. In instances where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to establish a treatment plan.

Can memory issues be the outcome 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. This is particularly true of neglected hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship isn’t entirely understood, but it’s obvious that there is a link between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals who have untreated hearing loss often exhibit an increased danger of dementia and cognitive decline. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk goes down substantially.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have demonstrated that untreated hearing loss can also cause increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Social isolation: People with neglected hearing loss will frequently begin to separate themselves from other people. They will often steer clear of conversations and will do things like using self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.

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

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 clear is that management of symptoms helps significantly. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

The good news is, managing neglected hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will certainly help. Here are a number of things we might suggest if hearing loss is detected:

  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. Your social life can be improved and your mental abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible problems can be decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify issues with your hearing before they become significant problems. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously mentioned can be avoided and additional damage can be decreased by the use of hearing protection.

You can improve your memory

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s worthwhile to emphasize that it doesn’t need to stay that way. In many instances, cognitive functions will return 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 really helpful.

Making an appointment with us can significantly improve your outlook and decrease your risk for other issues. 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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