Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-associated hearing loss can have broad 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 directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the link between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. People normally don’t associate their memory problems, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. The sad truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, the connection is at least partly due to 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 impacted by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be hard to notice. It isn’t uncommon for individuals to miss the more subtle and early signs. For these individuals hearing loss might only become obvious once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to develop rather gradually. People frequently begin raising the volume on their devices more and more and tend to ignore their symptoms.

Another factor is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. You may not notice that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. This is beneficial in that you will likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. However, compensating in this way requires considerable brain power. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue

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

Can memory problems be the outcome of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is frequently a prominent presentation. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is especially true. The cause and effect relationship is not fully understood, but it’s clear that there is a connection between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have shown that neglected hearing loss can also result in increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been shown to drop when the root hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People who have neglected hearing loss frequently have an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk drops considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with neglected hearing loss will frequently begin to separate themselves from others. They will often avoid conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.

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

Does hearing loss cause cognitive decline?

One of the more serious impacts of neglected hearing loss is a marked increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Scientists have a few theories about why this may be, but what’s obvious is that management of symptoms helps substantially. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow 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 recommend if hearing loss is detected:

  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can prevent additional degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the mental 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 limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you detect issues with your hearing before they become significant issues. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.

You can improve your memory

You can regain strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. 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 really helpful.

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

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

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.
Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call or Text Us