Could Hearing Loss be Making You Forgetful?

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your whole life can be impacted by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but so too are your social life, your professional networks, and even your mental abilities. The way your brain functions, including your memory and mood, can be significantly affected by hearing loss.

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 first symptoms. Sadly, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely connected.

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, the relationship is at least in part due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your mental abilities will improve.

How memory is Affected by hearing loss

Hearing loss can be difficult to detect. It’s not uncommon for individuals to miss the more subtle and early signs. Hearing loss might only be detected, for people in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The advancement of hearing loss is usually slow over time and that’s in part why it’s initially hard to recognize. People often begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to ignore their symptoms.

Another aspect is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. As a result, you may not notice that people are more difficult to understand. The positive thing about this is that your day-to-day life will have fewer disruptions. However, compensating in this way requires significant brain power. Requiring your brain to execute at this level for long periods can result in:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability

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

Can memory problems be the result of hearing loss?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can impact your brain. Forgetfulness is frequently a notable presentation. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is especially true. Although scientists aren’t perfectly clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been well connected to the following issues.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to untreated hearing loss is not unusual according to numerous studies. And once again, when the underlying hearing loss has been treated, the risk factor drops substantially.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The risk of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for people with neglected hearing loss. This risk declines dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: It’s not uncommon for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. They will frequently avoid conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout instead of talking to a cashier. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.

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

Does hearing loss cause mental decline?

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

How to deal with your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

If your fatigue and memory loss 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 identified, we might recommend the following:

  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. This can lead to less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social scenario. By avoiding and limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other issues.
  • Hearing protection: The use of hearing protection can counter further degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the mental strain outlined above.
  • Regular screenings: Regular screenings can help you detect problems with your hearing before they become significant issues. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early treatment.

You can improve your memory

You can recover strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. In many cases, mental functions will return 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 issues. Call us today!

The content of this blog is the intellectual property of and is reprinted here with permission. The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a hearing aid consultation, call today to schedule an appointment.