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 cognitive clarity can also be affected. Over time, hearing loss can intensely impact how your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the link between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. For example, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory issues are linked to a loss of hearing. Unfortunately, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely connected.

What’s the link between memory and hearing loss? Well, the link is at least partly related to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your mental abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss effects memory

Noticing hearing loss can often be difficult. Often, individuals fail to notice the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss may only be identified, for people in this category, when it becomes more severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to advance rather slowly. It’s commonly easy to disregard symptoms and, essentially, raise 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. The positive thing about this is that your day-to-day life will have fewer disruptions. But it takes a significant amount of brain power to compensate like this. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

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

Can memory issues be the outcome of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is frequently a notable presentation. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is particularly true. Although scientists aren’t entirely clear as to the cause and effect connection, hearing loss has been well linked to the following issues.:

  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals with neglected hearing loss often exhibit an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk goes down substantially.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t unusual for people to disengage from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. They will often avoid conversations and will do things like using self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Over time, this type of isolation can alter the way your brain is working.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of untreated hearing loss is not unusual according to multiple studies. And once again, when the underlying hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops substantially.

All of these issues are obviously intertwined. Mental health issues, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. And your risk of dementia also increases with social solitude.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

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. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps significantly and scientists have a number of theories as to why. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow down cognitive 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. Here are a few things we may suggest if hearing loss is detected:

  • Regular screenings: Before any issues begin to occur, regular screenings can identify them. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • The use of hearing aids: Using 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. By avoiding and decreasing social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing 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.

You can improve your memory

You can restore strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your cognitive function, in many instances, will sharpen. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a lot of good.

Scheduling an appointment with us can significantly improve your outlook and reduce 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.