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Center For Better Hearing - Glens Falls, NY

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your overall life can be impacted by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear affected, but so too are your social connections, your professional networks, and even your mental abilities. Over time, hearing loss can intensely impact the way your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the connection between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. For example, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory issues are associated with a loss of hearing. Unfortunately, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely related.

What does hearing loss have to do with memory? Well, hearing loss puts a distinctive strain on your brain and that’s, at least to some extent, the link. Often, when your hearing loss symptoms are successfully managed, your cognitive abilities will sharpen.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Noticing hearing loss can frequently be challenging. Frequently, individuals miss the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. For these individuals hearing loss might only become noticeable once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to develop rather slowly. 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. 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. But it takes a considerable amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long durations can result in:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

If you’re noticing these symptoms, we’ll be able to inform you whether the underlying cause is hearing loss or not. If it’s established that you are dealing with hearing loss, we can help you develop the best treatment plan.

Can hearing loss lead to memory problems?

Obviously, your brain can be impacted by hearing loss in other ways besides fatigue. Forgetfulness is often a prominent presentation. When hearing loss has been neglected, this is particularly true. The cause and effect relationship isn’t fully understood, but it’s obvious that there is a connection between hearing loss and the following problems:

  • Increased risk of dementia: The danger of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline is greater for individuals with neglected hearing loss. This risk falls dramatically when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Research has demonstrated that untreated hearing loss can also lead to increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been shown to decrease when the root hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Social isolation: It isn’t unusual for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. You’ll go out less often, chat with the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Over time, this type of solitude can change the way your brain is functioning.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Social solitude can exacerbate depression and other mental health problems. And your risk of dementia also increases with social isolation.

Does hearing loss cause cognitive decline?

One of the more serious impacts of untreated hearing loss is a pronounced increase in your risk of mental decline and dementia. Scientists have a few theories about why this may be, but what’s obvious is that management of symptoms helps significantly. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to reduce cognitive decline and lower your risk of developing dementia later in life.

Dealing with hearing loss related forgetfulness

The good news is, managing untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is a result of hearing loss, will certainly help. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we might 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 cognitive strain described above.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you identify problems with your hearing before they become substantial issues. Mental 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. By avoiding and limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.

You can improve your memory

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

Make an appointment with us so that we can help you significantly improve your outlook and reduce 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.
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