Audiology & Hearing Care of SWFL - Bonita Springs, FL

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have diverse impacts across your whole life. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your mental clarity can also be impacted. Over time, hearing loss can intensely impact the way your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the connection between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. People typically don’t associate their memory issues, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the very first symptoms. Unfortunately, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely connected.

What does loss of hearing have to do with memory? Well, hearing loss puts a distinctive strain on your brain and that’s, at least in part, the connection. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your mental abilities will sharpen.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Detecting hearing loss can frequently be challenging. It isn’t unusual for individuals to miss the more discreet and early signs. Hearing loss might only be identified, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more severe. The advancement of hearing loss is usually slow over time and that’s partly why it’s initially hard to recognize. Individuals often begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to dismiss their symptoms.

Another aspect is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. You might not notice that it’s becoming harder to understand what people are saying as a result. This is advantageous in that you will likely experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. However, compensating in this way requires substantial brain power. Requiring your brain to execute at this level for long periods can result in:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

We will be able to help you find out whether these symptoms are a result of hearing loss or not. In instances where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to formulate a treatment plan.

Can hearing loss cause memory issues?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. 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 connection, hearing loss has been strongly connected to the following issues.:

  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for individuals who have neglected hearing loss. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk goes down substantially.
  • Social isolation: It’s not uncommon for people to withdraw from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. They will often steer clear of conversations and will do things like using self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Over time, this kind of isolation can alter the way your brain is functioning.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss can also result in increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.

These problems are not unrelated, of course. Mental health problems, including depression, can be worsened by social solitude. And your risk of dementia also increases with social isolation.

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

Your risk of mental decline and dementia is increased by untreated hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious consequences of neglecting your hearing issues. It’s very clear that management of the symptoms helps significantly and scientists have a number of theories as to why. In other words, managing 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)

If your fatigue and forgetfulness are caused by untreated hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can absolutely have a positive effect. In cases where hearing loss is identified, we may recommend the following:

  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify issues with your hearing before they become substantial problems. Mental strain can be avoided with early management.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can lead to less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social situation. By avoiding and reducing social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously discussed can be avoided and further damage can be reduced by using hearing protection.

You can improve your memory

You can regain strength of memory even if hearing loss is presently causing a little forgetfulness. In many cases, cognitive functions will come back once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a world of good.

Schedule 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.