Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have broad impacts across your overall life. Not only is your ability to hear affected, but also your social life, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact how your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. People normally don’t associate their memory problems, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. Unfortunately, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely connected.

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 connection. Your cognitive abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss effects memory

Noticing hearing loss can often be difficult. Frequently, individuals fail to notice the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. For these people hearing loss may only become noticeable once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to progress rather gradually. Individuals often begin raising the volume on their devices more and more and tend to ignore their symptoms.

Additionally, the human brain is very good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. As a result, you may not notice that people are more difficult to understand. This is advantageous in that you will most likely experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. However, compensating in this way requires considerable brain power. 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 having these symptoms, we’ll be able to tell 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 memory issues be the result of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is a prevalent symptom. This is particularly true of neglected hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship is not entirely understood, but it’s clear that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of dementia: The risk of dementia and other forms of mental decline is greater for individuals with neglected hearing loss. This risk falls considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of untreated hearing loss isn’t uncommon according to multiple studies. And once more, when the underlying hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops substantially.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t uncommon for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. They will frequently avoid conversations and will do things like using self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Over time, this type of solitude can change the way your brain is functioning.

All of these issues are obviously intertwined. Mental health issues, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. Likewise, that kind of solitude can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

Your risk of mental decline and dementia is increased by neglected hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious consequences of neglecting your hearing problems. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps substantially and scientists have a number of theories as to why. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow down mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

If your fatigue and memory loss are caused by neglected hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can definitely have a positive impact. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we may suggest the following:

  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you detect problems with your hearing before they become substantial problems. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • 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 situation. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible problems can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously discussed can be avoided and additional damage can be decreased by using hearing protection.

You don’t need to stay forgetful!

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

Make an appointment with us so that we can help you significantly improve your outlook and reduce your risk of other problems.

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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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