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Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have broad impacts across your overall life. Not only is your ability to hear affected, but so too are your social connections, your professional networks, and even your mental abilities. Over time, hearing loss can intensely impact the way your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the connection between hearing loss and cognition is elusive. For instance, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory problems are associated with a loss of hearing. Sadly, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely linked.

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, hearing loss puts a unique strain on your brain and that’s, at least to some extent, the connection. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your cognitive abilities will improve.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Hearing loss can be hard to notice. It’s not unusual for people to miss the more discreet and early signs. Hearing loss may only be detected, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The development of hearing loss is often gradual over time and that’s in part why it’s initially difficult to notice. People frequently begin raising the volume on their devices more and more and tend to dismiss their symptoms.

Another factor is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. You may not detect that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. The positive thing about this is that your day-to-day life will have fewer disruptions. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate like this. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long periods can result in:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability
  • 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 hearing loss lead to memory problems?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is frequently a notable presentation. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is particularly true. Though scientists aren’t completely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been solidly linked to the following problems.:

  • Social isolation: It isn’t uncommon for individuals to disengage from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. They will frequently steer clear of conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of untreated hearing loss isn’t unusual according to numerous studies. Again, this risk has been shown to drop when the underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals with untreated hearing loss often have an increased danger of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk drops considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Mental health problems, including depression, can be worsened by social solitude. And your risk of dementia also increases with social solitude.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by untreated hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious consequences of neglecting your hearing issues. It’s quite clear that management of the symptoms helps considerably 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.

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

The good news is, managing untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will certainly help. Here are a number of things we might recommend if hearing loss is detected:

  • The use of hearing aids: Utilizing a hearing aid can help you hear better. Your social life can be improved and your cognitive abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. By avoiding and reducing social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.
  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become substantial problems. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously discussed can be avoided and further damage can be reduced by using hearing protection.

You can improve your memory

You can recover strength of memory even if hearing loss is presently causing a little forgetfulness. In many instances, mental functions will return 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 lot 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.