Hearing Health Blog

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your whole life can be impacted by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but so too are your social life, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. The way your brain functions, including your memory and mood, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is elusive. For example, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory issues are associated with a loss of hearing. The sad truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What’s the link between memory and hearing loss? Well, hearing loss puts a unique strain on your brain and that’s, at least in part, the link. Your cognitive abilities will usually improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Noticing hearing loss can often be difficult. Frequently, individuals miss the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. Hearing loss may only be recognized, for people in this category, when it becomes more severe. The advancement of hearing loss is usually gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult to notice. It’s commonly easy to disregard symptoms and, basically, raise the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

In addition, the human brain is quite good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. Consequently, you may not notice that people are harder to understand. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer disruptions. However, compensating in this way requires substantial brain power. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability

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

Can hearing loss result in memory issues?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is often a prominent presentation. This is particularly true of untreated hearing loss. Though scientists aren’t entirely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been solidly linked to the following issues.:

  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals with neglected hearing loss frequently exhibit an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk declines dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Research has shown that untreated hearing loss can also result in increases in both depression and anxiety over time. And once again, when the root hearing loss has been managed, the risk factor drops substantially.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with neglected hearing loss will frequently begin to isolate themselves from others. They will frequently avoid conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.

These issues aren’t unrelated, of course. Social isolation can exacerbate depression and other mental health problems. Similarly, that kind of solitude can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by neglected hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious outcomes of neglecting your hearing problems. Scientists have some theories about why this might be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps substantially. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow down mental decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

The good news is, treating neglected hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is caused by hearing loss, will definitely help. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we may recommend the following:

  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. Your social life can be improved and your mental abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible problems can be decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you detect problems with your hearing before they become significant problems. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • Hearing protection: Using hearing protection can counter further degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the cognitive strain described above.

You don’t need to stay forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a little forgetful, it’s important to emphasize that it doesn’t have to remain that way. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your cognitive function, in many circumstances, will improve. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t have to work so hard, and that rest can do a world of good.

Making an appointment with us can significantly improve your outlook and decrease 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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