Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

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

The link between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always evident. People typically don’t relate their memory problems, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. Unfortunately, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely related.

What’s the link between memory and hearing loss? Well, the link is at least in part the result of the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your cognitive abilities will improve.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Detecting hearing loss can often be difficult. It isn’t uncommon for individuals to miss the more discreet and early signs. For these individuals hearing loss might only become noticeable once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to advance quite slowly. It’s often easy to ignore symptoms and, basically, 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. As a result, you may not notice that people are more difficult to understand. The positive thing about this is that your day-to-day life will have fewer interruptions. However, compensating like this requires considerable brain power. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue

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

Can hearing loss cause memory problems?

Obviously, your brain can be impacted by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is often a prominent presentation. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is particularly true. The cause and effect relationship is not entirely understood, but it’s obvious that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of dementia: People with untreated hearing loss often have an increased danger of dementia and mental decline. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk decreases significantly.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of neglected hearing loss is not uncommon according to multiple studies. And once again, when the underlying hearing loss has been managed, the risk factor drops considerably.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with neglected hearing loss will often begin to separate themselves from other people. They will frequently steer clear of conversations and will do things like using self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Over time, this kind of solitude can alter the way your brain is working.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Mental health problems, including depression, can be worsened by social solitude. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social solitude.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by untreated hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious outcomes of neglecting your hearing problems. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps substantially and scientists have a number of 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 caused by hearing loss, will definitely help. Here are a number of things we might recommend if hearing loss is detected:

  • Hearing protection: Using hearing protection can counter additional degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become significant issues. Treating your hearing loss early can prevent mental strain.
  • 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. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.

You can improve your memory

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s worthwhile to highlight that it doesn’t need to stay that way. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your mental function, in many cases, will improve. 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 substantially 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.