Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have diverse impacts across your whole life. Not only is your ability to hear affected, but also your social life, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact the way your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the link between hearing loss and cognition is elusive. People typically don’t relate their memory issues, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the very first symptoms. The sad reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What’s the connection 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 successfully managed, your mental abilities will sharpen.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Noticing hearing loss can often be difficult. It’s not uncommon for individuals to miss the more discreet and early signs. Hearing loss might only be identified, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more severe. The progression of hearing loss is often slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult to notice. People often begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to dismiss their symptoms.

In addition, the human brain is very good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. Consequently, you might not notice that people are more difficult to understand. This is advantageous in that you will likely experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires considerable brain power. Requiring your brain to execute at this level for long periods can lead to:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

We will be able to help you find out whether these symptoms are a result of 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 problems 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 frequently a notable presentation. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is particularly true. The cause and effect relationship isn’t fully understood, but it’s clear that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of dementia: People with neglected hearing loss often have an increased risk of dementia and mental decline. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk diminishes significantly.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of neglected hearing loss isn’t uncommon according to numerous studies. Again, this risk has been shown to drop when the underlying hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Social isolation: It’s not unusual for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. They will often avoid conversations and will do things like using self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Over time, this type of solitude can alter the way your brain is functioning.

These problems are not unrelated, of course. Mental health issues, including depression, can be intensified by social solitude. And your risk of dementia also increases with social isolation.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

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

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

The good news is, managing untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will certainly help. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we might suggest the following:

  • Hearing protection: Using hearing protection can counter additional degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the cognitive strain described above.
  • 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 reducing social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become substantial issues. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early treatment.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

You can recover strength of memory even if hearing loss is presently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your cognitive function, in many instances, will sharpen. When your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear, the rest can be really helpful.

Making an appointment with us can greatly improve your outlook and decrease your risk for other problems. Call 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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