Gilberts Audiology & Hearing Aid Center - Oklahoma

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have broad impacts across your entire life. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your mental clarity can also be impacted. The way your brain functions, including your mood and memory, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

The link between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always apparent. People normally don’t relate their memory issues, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. Unfortunately, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely connected.

What’s the link between memory and hearing loss? Well, hearing loss puts a unique strain on your brain and that’s, at least to some extent, the connection. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your mental abilities will sharpen.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Detecting hearing loss can often be challenging. It’s not unusual for individuals to miss the more subtle and early signs. For these people hearing loss might only become evident once it has become moderate or severe. The development of hearing loss is frequently gradual over time and that’s in part why it’s initially difficult to recognize. Individuals often begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

In addition, the human brain is really good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. Consequently, you might not notice that people are harder to understand. The positive thing about this is that your day-to-day life will have fewer interruptions. However, compensating in this way requires considerable brain power. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long time periods.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability

We will be able to help you find out whether these symptoms are due to hearing loss or not. If it’s determined that you’re dealing with hearing loss, we can help you develop the best treatment plan.

Can hearing loss lead to memory problems?

Obviously, your brain can be impacted by hearing loss in other ways besides mental exhaustion. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is especially true. Though scientists aren’t completely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been solidly linked to the following issues.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to untreated hearing loss is not unusual according to numerous studies. Again, this risk has been shown to decrease when the root hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People with neglected hearing loss have been known to exhibit an increased danger of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk declines considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: People with untreated hearing loss will frequently begin to isolate themselves from other people. They will often 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.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Social solitude can exacerbate depression and other cognitive health issues. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social solitude.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

One of the more severe impacts of untreated hearing loss is a marked increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. Scientists have some theories about why this may be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps substantially. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow down mental decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia down the road.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

If your fatigue and forgetfulness are caused by untreated hearing loss, the good news is that managing your hearing loss symptoms can definitely have a positive impact. Here are a number of things we might recommend if hearing loss is detected:

  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can prevent further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.
  • Regular screenings: Before any problems begin to happen, routine screenings can identify them. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • 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.

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 come back once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t have to work so hard, and that rest can do a lot of good.

Schedule 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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