Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

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 mental abilities. The way your brain functions, including your mood and memory, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

The link between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always apparent. People normally don’t associate their memory problems, for instance, 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’s the link between memory and hearing loss? Well, the connection is at least in part related to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your cognitive abilities will sharpen.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be hard to notice. It’s not unusual for individuals to miss the more discreet and early signs. Hearing loss might only be detected, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more extreme. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to progress rather slowly. It’s commonly easy to dismiss symptoms and, basically, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

Additionally, the human brain is very good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. You might 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 disruptions. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long periods of time.:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue

If you’re noticing these symptoms, we’ll be able to inform you whether the root cause is hearing loss or not. In situations where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to establish a treatment plan.

Can memory issues be the result of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be affected by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is often a prominent presentation. This is especially true of neglected hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship is not entirely understood, but it’s obvious that there is a link between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of dementia: People who have neglected hearing loss have been known to have an increased danger of dementia and mental decline. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk goes down substantially.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to neglected hearing loss isn’t uncommon according to multiple studies. And once more, when the root hearing loss has been managed, the risk factor drops substantially.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t unusual for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have untreated hearing loss. You’ll go out less frequently, 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.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Mental health problems, including depression, can be worsened by social solitude. Likewise, that kind of isolation can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Does hearing loss cause cognitive decline?

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. It’s quite clear that management of the symptoms helps considerably and scientists have a number of theories as to why. In other words, treating 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

The good news is, treating untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is caused by hearing loss, will certainly help. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we might suggest the following:

  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. This can result in less strain on your mental abilities and an improvement in your social situation. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible problems can be decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.
  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you detect problems with your hearing before they become significant issues. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive 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. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your mental function, in many circumstances, will improve. When your brain doesn’t need to work as hard to hear, the rest can be really helpful.

Scheduling an appointment with us can significantly improve your outlook and decrease your risk for other issues. Contact 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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