Could Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-associated hearing loss can have diverse impacts across your entire life. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your mental clarity can also be impacted. Over time, hearing loss can intensely impact how your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the connection between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. For instance, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory troubles are associated with a loss of hearing. Unfortunately, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely related.

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, hearing loss puts a distinctive strain on your brain and that’s, at least in part, the link. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your mental abilities will sharpen.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Noticing hearing loss can often be difficult. It’s not unusual for people to miss the more discreet and early signs. For these individuals hearing loss might only become noticeable once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to develop rather slowly. People frequently begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

Another factor is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. You might not notice that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. This is beneficial in that you will probably experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires significant brain power. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, we’ll be able to inform you whether the root cause is hearing loss or not. If it’s established that you’re dealing with hearing loss, we can help you develop 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 often a notable presentation. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is especially true. The cause and effect relationship is not entirely understood, but it’s obvious that there is a connection between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of neglected hearing loss is not unusual according to multiple studies. And once again, when the root hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops considerably.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for people with untreated hearing loss. This risk falls considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: People with untreated hearing loss will often begin to separate themselves from other people. You’ll go out less frequently, talk to the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.

These problems are not unrelated, of course. Social solitude can worsen depression and other cognitive health issues. Similarly, that kind of isolation can also raise your risk of developing dementia.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more extreme impacts of neglected hearing loss is a marked 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, managing your hearing loss has been shown to reduce mental decline and lower 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 a result of hearing loss, will definitely help. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we may recommend the following:

  • Regular screenings: Before any problems start to occur, regular screenings can identify them. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can prevent additional degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the cognitive strain described above.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can lead to less strain on your mental abilities and an improvement in your social scenario. By preventing and reducing social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.

You can improve your memory

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

Making an appointment with us can greatly improve your outlook and decrease your risk for other issues. Contact us today!

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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