Hearcare  INC., & Associates - Sherman & Gainesville, TX

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your overall life can be affected by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear affected, but also your social connections, your professional networks, and even your mental abilities. The way your brain works, including your memory and mood, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the link between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. People typically don’t relate their memory issues, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the very first symptoms. The unfortunate reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

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

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be difficult to notice. Frequently, people miss the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. For these individuals hearing loss might only become noticeable once it has become moderate or severe. The progression of hearing loss is usually gradual over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to detect. It’s commonly easy to ignore symptoms and, essentially, raise the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Additionally, the human brain is quite good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. You might not detect that it’s becoming more difficult to understand what people are saying as a result. 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. Requiring your brain to execute 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 cause memory problems?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is especially true. Though scientists aren’t entirely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been strongly linked to the following problems.:

  • Increased risk of dementia: People who have neglected hearing loss frequently have an increased danger of dementia and mental decline. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk goes down substantially.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t uncommon for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. You’ll go out less often, chat with the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have demonstrated that neglected hearing loss can also result in increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to drop when the root hearing loss is effectively managed.

These problems are not unrelated, of course. Mental health issues, including depression, can be worsened by social solitude. Similarly, that kind of solitude can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

One of the more extreme 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 substantially and scientists have a number of theories as to why. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow down cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss induced forgetfulness

If your fatigue and memory loss are caused by untreated hearing loss, the good news is that managing your hearing loss symptoms can definitely have a positive effect. Here are a few things we might suggest if hearing loss is detected:

  • Regular screenings: Before any issues begin to happen, regular screenings can detect them. Treating your hearing loss early can prevent mental strain.
  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can counter further degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the cognitive strain outlined above.
  • The use of hearing aids: Using 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 decreasing social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.

You can improve your memory

You can recover strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. In many cases, 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.

Make an appointment with us so that we can help you substantially improve your outlook and decrease your risk of other problems.

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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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