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Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your overall life can be affected by age-related hearing loss. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your mental clarity can also be affected. The way your brain works, including your memory and mood, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

The connection between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always apparent. For instance, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory troubles are linked to a loss of hearing. The unfortunate reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, hearing loss puts a distinctive strain on your brain and that’s, at least in part, the link. Often, 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, people fail to notice the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. For these people hearing loss might only become noticeable once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to advance quite slowly. Individuals frequently begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to ignore their symptoms.

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 beneficial in that you will probably experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. But it takes a considerable amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability

If you’re noticing these symptoms, we’ll be able to inform you whether the root cause is hearing loss or not. In cases where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Can memory problems be the result of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be impacted by hearing loss in other ways besides mental exhaustion. Forgetfulness is often a notable presentation. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is particularly true. The cause and effect relationship isn’t entirely understood, but it’s obvious that there is a link between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of dementia: The risk of dementia and other forms of mental decline is greater for individuals with untreated hearing loss. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk diminishes significantly.
  • Social isolation: It’s not unusual for people to disengage from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. They will often avoid conversations and will do things like using self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Over time, this kind of solitude can alter the way your brain is functioning.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to neglected hearing loss isn’t unusual according to numerous studies. Again, this risk has been shown to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is successfully 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 isolation.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more extreme impacts of untreated hearing loss is a marked increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Scientists have some theories about why this might be, but what’s obvious is that management of symptoms helps significantly. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to reduce mental 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 definitely have a positive effect. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we might recommend the following:

  • Regular screenings: Before any problems start to occur, regular screenings can detect them. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early management.
  • 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 issues can be decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously mentioned can be avoided and further damage can be decreased by the use of hearing protection.

You don’t have to stay forgetful!

You can restore strength of memory even if hearing loss is presently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your cognitive function, in many circumstances, will improve. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t have to work so hard, and that rest can do a world of good.

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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