Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your whole 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 cognitive abilities. Over time, hearing loss can intensely impact how your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

The link between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always evident. People normally don’t associate their memory issues, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. The unfortunate reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, the link is at least partly the result of 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 difficult to detect. Often, individuals miss the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. For these individuals hearing loss may only become noticeable once it has become moderate or severe. The advancement of hearing loss is often slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to recognize. It’s commonly easy to dismiss symptoms and, essentially, raise 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. As a result, you might not notice that people are harder to understand. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer disruptions. But it takes a significant amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long durations can result in:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

If you’re noticing these symptoms, we’ll be able to tell you whether the underlying cause is hearing loss or not. If it’s established that you are dealing with hearing loss, we can help you establish the best treatment plan.

Can memory problems be the outcome of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be impacted by hearing loss in other ways besides mental exhaustion. Forgetfulness is a prevalent symptom. This is particularly true of untreated hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship is not fully understood, but it’s obvious that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of neglected hearing loss is not uncommon according to numerous studies. And once again, when the underlying hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops considerably.
  • Social isolation: People with neglected hearing loss will frequently begin to separate themselves from other people. They will often avoid conversations and will do things like using self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The risk of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for people who have untreated hearing loss. When the hearing loss is effectively managed, the risk decreases substantially.

These issues are not unrelated, of course. Social solitude can exacerbate depression and other mental health issues. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social isolation.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more extreme impacts of untreated hearing loss is a marked increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. 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 down cognitive decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

How to deal with 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 definitely have a positive effect. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we may suggest the following:

  • Regular screenings: Before any issues begin to happen, regular screenings can identify them. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.
  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. This can lead to less strain on your mental abilities and an improvement in your social scenario. By preventing and decreasing social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.
  • Hearing protection: Using hearing protection can prevent further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the cognitive strain outlined above.

You can improve your memory

You can regain strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your mental function, in many cases, will sharpen. When your brain doesn’t need to work as hard to hear, the rest can be really helpful.

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

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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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