Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

Could Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Princeton Otolaryngology Associates: Dr. Scott L. Kay | Hearing Loss Articles

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-related hearing loss can have broad impacts across your entire life. Not only is your ability to hear affected, but also your social connections, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact how your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

The relationship between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always obvious. People normally don’t relate their memory issues, for example, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. The sad reality is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, the link is at least partly related to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your cognitive abilities will sharpen.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be hard to detect. It isn’t unusual for individuals to miss the more subtle and early signs. For these individuals hearing loss might only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to progress rather slowly. It’s often easy to dismiss symptoms and, basically, raise the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Another aspect is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. Consequently, you may not notice that people are harder to understand. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer disruptions. However, compensating like this requires considerable brain power. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability

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 establish a treatment plan.

Can memory issues be the outcome of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is often a prominent presentation. This is particularly true of neglected hearing loss. Although scientists aren’t entirely clear as to the cause and effect connection, hearing loss has been solidly linked to the following problems.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have shown 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 underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People who have untreated hearing loss have been known to exhibit an increased danger of dementia and mental decline. This risk falls dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t unusual for people to disengage from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. They will often steer clear of conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Over time, this type of solitude can change the way your brain is functioning.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Mental health issues, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. 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 untreated hearing loss, and that’s one of the more severe outcomes of neglecting your hearing issues. Scientists have some theories about why this might be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps significantly. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow cognitive decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

Dealing with hearing loss induced 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 impact. Here are a number of things we may suggest if hearing loss is identified:

  • Regular screenings: Before any problems start to happen, regular screenings can detect them. Treating your hearing loss early can prevent mental strain.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive decline previously discussed can be avoided and additional damage can be decreased by the use of hearing protection.
  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. Your social life can be improved and your mental abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. By preventing and decreasing social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

You can recover strength of memory even if hearing loss is presently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your cognitive function, in many instances, will sharpen. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t have to work so hard, and that rest can do a lot of good.

Making an appointment with us can drastically improve your outlook and reduce your risk for other issues. Call us today!

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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