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 entire life. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your mental clarity can also be affected. The way your brain functions, including your mood and memory, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

The relationship between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always evident. For example, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory troubles are associated with a loss of hearing. Unfortunately, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely connected.

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, the relationship is at least partly related to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your cognitive abilities will sharpen.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be difficult to detect. It’s not uncommon for individuals to miss the more subtle and early signs. For these people hearing loss might only become evident once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to progress quite gradually. It’s commonly easy to dismiss symptoms and, essentially, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

In addition, the human brain is quite good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. You might 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 disruptions. But it takes a considerable amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Requiring your brain to execute at this level for long durations can result in:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, we’ll be able to tell you whether the root cause is hearing loss or not. In cases where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Can memory issues be the result of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is especially true. Even though scientists aren’t completely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been solidly linked to the following problems.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have demonstrated that neglected hearing loss can also lead to increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been shown to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Social isolation: It’s not unusual for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. You’ll go out less frequently, chat with the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Over time, this type of solitude can alter the way your brain is functioning.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The risk of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for individuals with neglected hearing loss. This risk declines dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

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

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

Your risk of mental decline and dementia is increased by neglected hearing loss, and that’s one of the more severe consequences of neglecting your hearing issues. Scientists have a few theories about why this may be, but what’s obvious is that management of symptoms helps considerably. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to reduce mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia later in life.

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

If your fatigue and forgetfulness are caused by untreated hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can absolutely have a positive impact. Here are a number of things we may suggest if hearing loss is detected:

  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive decline previously discussed can be avoided and additional damage can be decreased by the use of hearing protection.
  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become substantial issues. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent cognitive strain.
  • The use of hearing aids: Utilizing 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.

You don’t have to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s worthwhile to highlight that it doesn’t have to stay that way. In many circumstances, mental functions will return once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear, the rest can be very helpful.

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