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Robby Young's Hearing Aid Center - Coachella Valley, CA

Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your entire life can be affected by age-related hearing loss. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your cognitive clarity can also be affected. The way your brain functions, including your mood and memory, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

Sometimes, the relationship between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. People typically don’t relate their memory problems, for instance, with hearing loss even though it’s one of the first symptoms. 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, the link is at least in part due to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your cognitive abilities will usually improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How hearing loss effects memory

Hearing loss can be difficult to detect. Frequently, people miss the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss may only be detected, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more severe. The progression of hearing loss is usually gradual over time and that’s in part why it’s initially difficult to detect. People often begin raising the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

Additionally, the human brain is quite good at compensating for intermittent loss of sounds. Consequently, you may not notice that people are harder to understand. The positive thing about this is that your daily life will have fewer interruptions. But it takes a substantial amount of brain power to compensate in this way. Requiring your brain to execute at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness

We will be able to help you find out whether these symptoms are due to 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?

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

  • Social isolation: It isn’t uncommon for individuals to withdraw from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. They will often avoid conversations and will do things like going to self-checkout rather than talking to a cashier. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Studies have shown that neglected hearing loss can also lead to increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to decrease when the root hearing loss is effectively managed.
  • Increased risk of dementia: Individuals with untreated hearing loss often exhibit an increased danger of dementia and cognitive decline. When the hearing loss is effectively treated, the risk diminishes significantly.

All of these concerns are obviously intertwined. Social isolation can exacerbate depression and other cognitive health issues. Similarly, that type of isolation can also increase your risk of developing dementia.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by untreated hearing loss, and that’s one of the more severe outcomes of neglecting your hearing problems. Scientists have some theories about why this might be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps substantially. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to reduce cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia down the road.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

The good news is, managing untreated hearing loss, if your forgetfulness is caused by hearing loss, will definitely help. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we may recommend the following:

  • Hearing protection: Some of the cognitive decline previously discussed can be avoided and further damage can be reduced by using hearing protection.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. Your social life can be improved and your mental 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.
  • Regular screenings: Routine screenings can help you detect problems with your hearing before they become substantial issues. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early treatment.

You can improve your memory

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

Making an appointment with us can greatly improve your outlook and reduce 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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