Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your overall life can be impacted by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but so too are your social connections, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. The way your brain functions, including your mood and memory, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the connection between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. People normally don’t associate their memory issues, 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 relationship is at least partly related to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your cognitive abilities will improve.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Noticing hearing loss can frequently be challenging. Frequently, individuals fail to notice the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. For these individuals hearing loss might only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. The advancement of hearing loss is often gradual over time and that’s in part why it’s initially hard to notice. It’s commonly easy to ignore 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. You might not detect that it’s becoming more difficult to understand what people are saying as a result. This is advantageous in that you will most likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, we’ll be able to tell you whether the root cause is hearing loss or not. In situations 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 a common symptom. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is particularly true. Though scientists aren’t completely clear as to the cause and effect connection, hearing loss has been solidly connected to the following issues.:

  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals with neglected hearing loss frequently exhibit an increased risk of dementia and mental decline. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk diminishes substantially.
  • Social isolation: People with untreated hearing loss will often begin to isolate themselves from others. You’ll go out less frequently, chat with the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of neglected hearing loss is not uncommon according to multiple studies. And once more, when the root hearing loss has been managed, the risk factor drops substantially.

These issues are not unrelated, of course. Mental health problems, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. And your risk of dementia also increases with social solitude.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more serious impacts of untreated hearing loss is a marked increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps considerably and scientists have a few theories as to why. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow down 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:

  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. Your social life can be improved and your cognitive abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. By preventing and decreasing social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously mentioned can be avoided and additional damage can be decreased by the use of hearing protection.
  • Regular screenings: Before any problems start to happen, routine screenings can identify them. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent mental strain.

You don’t have to stay forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a little forgetful, it’s worthwhile to highlight that it doesn’t have to stay that way. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your cognitive function, in many cases, will improve. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a world of good.

Make an appointment with us so that we can help you substantially improve your outlook and reduce 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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