Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your entire life can be affected by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but also your social connections, your professional networks, and even your mental abilities. The way your brain works, including your mood and memory, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is elusive. People normally don’t associate their memory issues, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the very first symptoms. 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 connection is at least in part due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your cognitive abilities will usually improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss effects memory

Noticing hearing loss can often be difficult. It’s not uncommon for people to miss the more discreet and early signs. Hearing loss may only be identified, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more extreme. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to develop rather slowly. It’s often easy to dismiss symptoms and, essentially, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Another factor is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. You may not detect that it’s becoming more difficult to understand what people are saying as a result. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer disruptions. However, compensating like this requires substantial brain power. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long durations can result in:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

We will be able to help you figure out whether these symptoms are due to hearing loss or not. In situations where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to formulate a treatment plan.

Can memory problems be the result of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is a prevalent symptom. This is especially true of untreated hearing loss. Although scientists aren’t perfectly clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been strongly linked to the following problems.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of untreated hearing loss is not uncommon according to numerous studies. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to drop when the underlying hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for individuals who have neglected hearing loss. When the hearing loss is effectively managed, the risk diminishes substantially.
  • Social isolation: It’s not uncommon for people to disengage from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. They will often steer clear of conversations and will do things like using self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Social isolation can exacerbate depression and other cognitive health problems. Likewise, that kind of isolation can also raise your risk of developing dementia.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by untreated hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious outcomes of neglecting your hearing problems. It’s quite clear that management of the symptoms helps substantially and scientists have a few theories as to why. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

If your fatigue and memory loss are caused by untreated hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can absolutely have a positive effect. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we may recommend the following:

  • Hearing protection: The utilization of hearing protection can counter further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the cognitive strain outlined above.
  • 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. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible problems can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Regular screenings: Before any problems begin to happen, regular screenings can detect them. Treating your hearing loss early can prevent mental strain.

You don’t have to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a little forgetful, it’s important to emphasize that it doesn’t have to stay that way. In many circumstances, cognitive 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.

Make an appointment with us so that we can help you significantly improve your outlook and decrease your risk of other issues.

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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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