Florida Hearing Matters - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-associated hearing loss can have broad impacts across your overall life. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but so too are your social life, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. The way your brain works, including your memory and mood, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the connection between hearing loss and cognition is elusive. For instance, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory problems are associated with a loss of hearing. The sad truth is that hearing loss and memory loss go hand-in-hand.

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 link. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your cognitive abilities will improve.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Hearing loss can be difficult to detect. Frequently, people fail to notice the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss might only be detected, for people in this category, when it becomes more severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to progress quite gradually. People often begin raising the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

In addition, the human brain is very good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. You may not notice that it’s becoming more difficult to understand what people are saying as a result. This is beneficial in that you will probably experience fewer disruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires considerable brain power. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

We will be able to help you determine whether these symptoms are due to 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 mental exhaustion. Forgetfulness is a prevalent symptom. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is especially true. The cause and effect relationship isn’t fully understood, but it’s clear that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression as a result of neglected hearing loss is not unusual according to numerous studies. Again, this risk has been shown to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for people who have neglected hearing loss. This risk falls dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: People with untreated hearing loss will frequently begin to isolate themselves from other people. You’ll go out less frequently, talk with the cashier at the grocery store less, and so on. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Mental health problems, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. And your risk of dementia also goes up with social solitude.

Does hearing loss cause cognitive decline?

One of the more severe impacts of untreated hearing loss is a pronounced increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. Scientists have some theories about why this may be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps significantly. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow mental decline and lower your risk of developing dementia down the road.

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

The good news is, treating neglected hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will definitely help. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we may suggest the following:

  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can counter additional degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the mental strain described above.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become significant issues. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. Your social life can be improved and your cognitive abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. Your risk of dementia, depression, and other possible issues can be decreased and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.

You don’t have to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a little forgetful, it’s important to highlight that it doesn’t have to stay that way. Once the strain on your brain is alleviated, your mental function, in many circumstances, will sharpen. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a world of good.

Scheduling an appointment with us can greatly improve your outlook and reduce 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.