Can Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have broad impacts across your whole life. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your cognitive clarity can also be affected. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact how your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. For example, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory troubles are linked to a loss of hearing. The unfortunate truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, the relationship is at least in part related to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your cognitive abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Hearing loss can be difficult to detect. Often, people miss the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss may only be identified, for people in this category, when it becomes more extreme. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to develop quite gradually. People often begin raising the volume on their devices more and more and tend to dismiss their symptoms.

Another factor is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. You may not notice that it’s becoming more difficult to understand what people are saying as a result. The positive thing about this is that your day-to-day life will have fewer interruptions. But it takes a significant amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

If you’re having 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 develop a treatment plan.

Can hearing loss result in memory issues?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is a prevalent symptom. This is especially true of untreated hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship isn’t fully understood, but it’s obvious that there is a link between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals who have untreated hearing loss have been known to have an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk declines considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of neglected hearing loss is not unusual according to multiple studies. Again, this risk has been shown to decrease when the root hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Social isolation: People with untreated hearing loss will often begin to isolate themselves from others. You’ll go out less often, chat with the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Social solitude can exacerbate depression and other cognitive health issues. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social isolation.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by neglected hearing loss, and that’s one of the more severe outcomes of neglecting your hearing issues. It’s quite clear that management of the symptoms helps substantially and scientists have a number of theories as to why. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow down mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

The good news is, treating neglected hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is caused by hearing loss, will definitely help. Here are a few things we might suggest if hearing loss is detected:

  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously mentioned can be avoided and further damage can be minimized by using hearing protection.
  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. This can lead to less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social situation. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Regular screenings: Before any issues start to occur, routine screenings can identify them. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s important to emphasize that it doesn’t need to stay 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 lot of good.

Making an appointment with us can drastically improve your outlook and reduce your risk for other problems. Contact us today!

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.