Audio Life Hearing Center- Knoxville, TN

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your entire life can be impacted by age-related hearing loss. 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 intensely impact the way your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. For example, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory issues are linked to a loss of hearing. Sadly, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely linked.

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, the relationship is at least partly due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your cognitive abilities will usually improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Detecting hearing loss can often be difficult. Frequently, individuals miss the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. Hearing loss might only be detected, for people in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The advancement of hearing loss is often slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially difficult to notice. It’s often easy to disregard symptoms and, basically, raise the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

In addition, the human brain is very good at compensating for periodic 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 interruptions. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate like this. Requiring your brain to execute at this level for long periods can lead to:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue

We will be able to help you determine whether these symptoms are due to hearing loss or not. In cases where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Can hearing loss cause memory problems?

Obviously, your brain can be impacted by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is often a prominent presentation. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is especially true. The cause and effect relationship isn’t entirely understood, but it’s clear that there is a connection between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of mental decline is greater for people who have neglected hearing loss. When the hearing loss is effectively managed, the risk goes down substantially.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to untreated hearing loss isn’t uncommon according to multiple studies. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to decrease when the root hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Social isolation: People with untreated hearing loss will often begin to isolate themselves from others. You’ll go out less often, 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 problems are obviously intertwined. Mental health issues, including depression, can be intensified by social solitude. Similarly, that type of isolation can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

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

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

The good news is, managing untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is caused by hearing loss, will definitely help. Here are a number of things we may suggest if hearing loss is detected:

  • Hearing protection: Using hearing protection can prevent further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can lead to less strain on your mental abilities and an improvement in your social situation. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you detect issues with your hearing before they become substantial problems. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early management.

You don’t have to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a little forgetful, it’s worthwhile to emphasize that it doesn’t need to stay that way. In many circumstances, mental functions will come back once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When your brain doesn’t need to work as hard to hear, the rest can be really helpful.

Schedule 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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