Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your entire life can be affected by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear affected, but so too are your social connections, your professional networks, and even your mental 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 relationship between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always apparent. 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. Sadly, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely related.

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, the connection 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 mental abilities will improve.

How hearing loss effects memory

Hearing loss can be difficult to notice. Often, individuals miss the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss might only be recognized, for people in this category, when it becomes more severe. The development of hearing loss is usually slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to detect. People often begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to dismiss their symptoms.

In addition, the human brain is quite good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. You may 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. However, compensating in this way requires substantial brain power. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

We will be able to help you determine whether these symptoms are due to 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 memory problems be the result of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is often a notable presentation. This is especially true of untreated hearing loss. Though scientists aren’t perfectly clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been strongly connected to the following problems.:

  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals with neglected hearing loss frequently have 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: Research has shown that neglected hearing loss can also lead to increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been shown to drop when the root hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with untreated hearing loss will often begin to isolate themselves from others. They will often avoid conversations and will do things like using self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Over time, this kind of solitude can alter the way your brain is working.

All of these issues are obviously intertwined. Mental health issues, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. And your risk of dementia also increases with social isolation.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more serious 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 may 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 lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

The good news is, managing untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is caused by hearing loss, will certainly help. Here are a few things we may suggest if hearing loss is detected:

  • Regular screenings: Before any problems begin to occur, routine screenings can detect them. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early management.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously discussed can be avoided and further damage can be reduced by using hearing protection.
  • 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 reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.

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. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your mental function, in many circumstances, will improve. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a lot of good.

Scheduling an appointment with us can greatly improve your outlook and reduce 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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