Could Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-associated hearing loss can have diverse impacts across your whole life. Not only is your ability to hear affected, 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.

The connection between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always apparent. For example, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory troubles are associated with a loss of hearing. The unfortunate reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

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 mental abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Hearing loss can be hard to detect. It isn’t uncommon for people to miss the more discreet and early signs. Hearing loss may only be recognized, for people in this category, when it becomes more extreme. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to progress rather gradually. It’s often easy to dismiss symptoms and, essentially, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Another aspect is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. Consequently, you may not notice that people are more difficult to understand. This is advantageous in that you will likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue

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

Can hearing loss cause memory problems?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is a prevalent symptom. 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 strongly connected to the following issues.:

  • Social isolation: Individuals with untreated hearing loss will frequently begin to separate themselves from other people. You’ll go out less frequently, talk to the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have demonstrated that untreated 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.
  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals who have untreated hearing loss often have an increased risk of dementia and mental decline. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk goes down significantly.

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

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more severe impacts of neglected hearing loss is a marked increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. Scientists have some theories about why this may be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps considerably. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow mental decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

If your fatigue and memory loss are caused by untreated hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can definitely have a positive impact. Here are a few things we might recommend if hearing loss is detected:

  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. Your social life can be improved and your mental abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. By avoiding and decreasing social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.
  • Hearing protection: The utilization of hearing protection can counter further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify issues with your hearing before they become significant problems. Mental 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 stay that way. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your cognitive function, in many circumstances, will sharpen. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a lot of good.

Schedule 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.