Geneva Hearing Services - Geneva, IL

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your overall life can be impacted by age-related hearing loss. 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.

Sometimes, the connection between hearing loss and cognition is elusive. People usually don’t associate their memory problems, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. The sad truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

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

How hearing loss impacts memory

Detecting hearing loss can often be difficult. It’s not unusual for individuals to miss the more discreet and early signs. For these individuals hearing loss may only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. The progression of hearing loss is usually gradual over time and that’s in part why it’s initially hard to notice. It’s commonly easy to disregard symptoms and, basically, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

In addition, the human brain is really good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. As a result, you may not notice that people are more difficult to understand. This is advantageous in that you will most likely experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. However, compensating in this way requires substantial brain power. Requiring your brain to perform at this level for long periods can result in:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, we’ll be able to tell you whether the root cause is hearing loss or not. If it’s determined that you are dealing with hearing loss, we can help you establish the best treatment plan.

Can hearing loss lead to memory issues?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is frequently a prominent presentation. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is especially true. Although scientists aren’t completely clear as to the cause and effect connection, hearing loss has been well linked to the following problems.:

  • 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. Over time, this sort of solitude can change the way your brain is functioning.
  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals with untreated hearing loss have been known to exhibit an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. This risk drops dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of neglected hearing loss is not unusual according to multiple studies. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.

These problems are not unrelated, of course. Social isolation can exacerbate depression and other cognitive health problems. And your risk of dementia also increases with social isolation.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

Your risk of mental decline and dementia is increased by neglected hearing loss, and that’s one of the more severe outcomes of neglecting your hearing problems. Scientists have a few 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 slow cognitive decline and lower your risk of developing dementia later in life.

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

If your fatigue and forgetfulness 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 detected, we may suggest the following:

  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become significant problems. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent mental strain.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can result in less strain on your cognitive 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.
  • Hearing protection: The utilization of hearing protection can prevent additional degradation of your hearing and, consequently, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.

You don’t need to stay forgetful!

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

Scheduling an appointment with us can drastically improve your outlook and decrease your risk for other problems. Call us today!

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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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