Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your whole life can be affected by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but also your social life, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. Over time, hearing loss can intensely impact the way your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

The link between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always obvious. For instance, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory troubles are linked to a loss of hearing. The unfortunate truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What does hearing loss 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 successfully managed, your mental abilities will sharpen.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Detecting hearing loss can often be difficult. Frequently, individuals fail to notice the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss might only be detected, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The advancement of hearing loss is usually gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult to detect. People 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. You might not detect that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer interruptions. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate like this. Requiring your brain to execute at this level for long periods can result in:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue

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

Can memory problems 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. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is especially true. The cause and effect relationship isn’t entirely understood, but it’s obvious that there is a link between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Social isolation: It’s not uncommon for individuals to disengage from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. You’ll go out less frequently, talk to the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Over time, this type of isolation can alter the way your brain is functioning.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of untreated hearing loss isn’t uncommon according to numerous studies. Again, this risk has been shown to drop when the root hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for people with neglected hearing loss. This risk declines considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

These problems are not unrelated, of course. Social solitude can exacerbate depression and other cognitive health issues. And your risk of dementia also increases with social solitude.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more serious impacts of untreated hearing loss is a significant increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. It’s quite clear that management of the symptoms helps substantially and scientists have a few theories as to why. 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)

If your fatigue and forgetfulness are caused by untreated hearing loss, the good news is that managing your hearing loss symptoms can absolutely have a positive impact. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we might suggest the following:

  • 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 outlined above.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can result in less strain on your mental abilities and an improvement in your social scenario. 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: Before any issues begin to happen, routine screenings can identify them. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent mental strain.

You don’t have to remain forgetful!

You can regain strength of memory even if hearing loss is presently causing a little forgetfulness. In many circumstances, mental functions will come back once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a world of good.

Make an appointment with us so that we can help you substantially improve your outlook and decrease 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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