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 overall life. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your cognitive clarity can also be impacted. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact the way your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the link between hearing loss and cognition is elusive. For example, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory problems are linked to a loss of hearing. The unfortunate reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What’s the link between memory and hearing loss? Well, the connection is at least in part due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your mental abilities will sharpen.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Detecting hearing loss can often be difficult. Frequently, individuals fail to notice the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. For these people hearing loss may only become obvious once it has become moderate or severe. The progression of hearing loss is often gradual over time and that’s in part why it’s initially difficult to notice. People often begin raising the volume on their devices more and more and tend to ignore their symptoms.

Additionally, the human brain is really good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. You may 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 daily life will have fewer disruptions. However, compensating in this way requires significant brain power. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue

We will be able to help you find 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 issues be the result of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides mental exhaustion. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is especially true. The cause and effect relationship isn’t fully understood, but it’s clear that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to neglected hearing loss isn’t unusual according to multiple studies. And once again, when the underlying hearing loss has been managed, the risk factor drops considerably.
  • 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 treated, the risk diminishes significantly.
  • Social isolation: People with neglected hearing loss will often begin to isolate themselves from other people. You’ll go out less frequently, talk with the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.

All of these issues are obviously intertwined. Mental health issues, including depression, can be intensified by social solitude. Likewise, that kind of isolation can also raise your risk of developing dementia.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

Your risk of mental decline and dementia is increased by untreated hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious outcomes of neglecting your hearing issues. Scientists have some theories about why this might be, but what’s clear 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.

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

If your fatigue and memory loss are caused by neglected hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can absolutely have a positive effect. Here are a few things we may suggest if hearing loss is identified:

  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. This can lead to less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social situation. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible problems can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive decline previously discussed can be avoided and further damage can be decreased by the use of hearing protection.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become substantial issues. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early management.

You don’t need to stay forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s important to emphasize that it doesn’t need to remain that way. In many circumstances, cognitive functions will come back once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a world of good.

Making an appointment with us can drastically improve your outlook and reduce your risk for other problems. Contact 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.