Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your whole life can be impacted by age-related hearing loss. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your cognitive clarity can also be affected. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact how your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

The connection between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always obvious. People typically don’t relate their memory problems, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. The unfortunate reality 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. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your cognitive abilities will sharpen.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Noticing hearing loss can often be challenging. Frequently, individuals fail to notice the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. For these individuals hearing loss might only become obvious once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to advance rather slowly. It’s often easy to dismiss symptoms and, basically, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

In addition, the human brain is very good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. You may not notice that it’s becoming more difficult to understand what people are saying as a result. This is beneficial in that you will likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires substantial brain power. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability

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

Can hearing loss lead to memory issues?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. This is especially true of neglected hearing loss. Although scientists aren’t entirely clear as to the cause and effect connection, hearing loss has been well linked to the following issues.:

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

These issues are not unrelated, of course. Social solitude can exacerbate depression and other mental health issues. Likewise, that type 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 pronounced increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. Scientists have a few theories about why this might be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps substantially. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

The good news is, managing neglected hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will definitely help. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we may recommend the following:

  • The use of hearing aids: Utilizing a hearing aid can help you hear better. Your social life can be improved and your cognitive abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. By avoiding and reducing social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.
  • Hearing protection: Using hearing protection can counter additional degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the mental strain outlined above.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you detect issues with your hearing before they become significant problems. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early management.

You can improve your memory

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s worthwhile to emphasize that it doesn’t need to remain that way. In many instances, 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 lot of good.

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