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 so too are your social connections, your professional networks, and even your mental abilities. Over time, hearing loss can intensely impact how your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the link between hearing loss and cognition is elusive. For example, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory issues are linked to a loss of hearing. Unfortunately, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely linked.

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

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Noticing hearing loss can often be difficult. It isn’t unusual for people to miss the more discreet and early signs. For these individuals hearing loss may only become obvious once it has become moderate or severe. The development of hearing loss is often gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult 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 intermittent loss of sounds. As a result, you might not notice that people are more difficult to understand. This is beneficial in that you will likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires significant brain power. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long periods can lead to:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue

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

Can hearing loss cause memory issues?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is frequently a notable presentation. This is particularly true of neglected hearing loss. Though scientists aren’t perfectly clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been well connected to 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 drops considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Research has shown that neglected hearing loss can also result in increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been shown to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Social isolation: People with untreated hearing loss will frequently begin to isolate themselves from other people. You’ll go out less often, chat with 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. Mental health problems, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social solitude.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by neglected hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious consequences of neglecting your hearing issues. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps significantly and scientists have a few theories as to why. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow down mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia later in life.

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

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

  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously mentioned can be avoided and additional 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 cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social situation. By avoiding and limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.
  • Regular screenings: Before any issues start to happen, regular screenings can detect them. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.

You can improve your memory

You can restore 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 your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear, the rest can be really helpful.

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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