Could Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

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 impacted. The way your brain works, including your mood and memory, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

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

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, the connection is at least in part due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your mental abilities will improve.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Noticing hearing loss can often be challenging. It’s not unusual for people to miss the more discreet and early signs. For these individuals hearing loss may only become noticeable once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to develop quite slowly. People often begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

Another factor 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. This is advantageous in that you will likely experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires substantial brain power. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long periods can lead to:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

We will be able to help you figure out whether these symptoms are due to hearing loss or not. If it’s determined that you are dealing with hearing loss, we can help you formulate the best treatment plan.

Can memory issues be the outcome of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is a prevalent symptom. This is especially true of neglected hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship isn’t fully understood, but it’s obvious that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals with untreated hearing loss often exhibit an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk goes down significantly.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Research has demonstrated that neglected hearing loss can also lead to increases in both depression and anxiety over time. And once again, when the underlying hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops considerably.
  • Social isolation: It’s not unusual for people to withdraw from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. They will often steer clear of conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.

These issues aren’t unrelated, of course. Social solitude can worsen depression and other mental health issues. And your risk of dementia also increases with social isolation.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

One of the more severe 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 might be, but what’s obvious is that management of symptoms helps considerably. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow mental decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss induced forgetfulness

If your fatigue and forgetfulness are caused by neglected hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can absolutely have a positive effect. Here are a number of things we might suggest if hearing loss is identified:

  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify issues with your hearing before they become substantial issues. Treating your hearing loss early can prevent cognitive strain.
  • The use of hearing aids: Utilizing a hearing aid can help you hear better. This can result in less strain on your mental abilities and an improvement in your social situation. By preventing and limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive decline previously discussed can be avoided and further damage can be reduced by the use of hearing protection.

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 remain that way. In many instances, cognitive 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 significantly improve your outlook and reduce your risk of other problems.

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.