Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City, OK

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Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Age-associated hearing loss can have broad impacts across your entire life. Besides your ability to hear, your professional life, your social life, and even your mental clarity can also be impacted. The way your brain functions, including your mood and memory, can be substantially affected by hearing loss.

The link between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always apparent. For instance, one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory issues are associated with a loss of hearing. Sadly, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely connected.

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. Usually, when your hearing loss symptoms are effectively managed, your cognitive abilities will sharpen.

How hearing loss impacts memory

Hearing loss can be difficult to detect. It isn’t unusual for individuals to miss the more discreet and early signs. Hearing loss may only be recognized, for people in this category, when it becomes more severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss has a tendency to progress quite slowly. It’s often easy to ignore symptoms and, essentially, turn up the volume on your television a little more every few days (or weeks).

In addition, the human brain is quite good at compensating for periodic loss of sounds. You might not notice that it’s becoming more difficult to understand what people are saying as a result. This is advantageous in that you will likely experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires considerable brain power. Here are a few consequences of asking your brain to do this over long time periods.:

  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained irritability

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

Can hearing loss result in memory problems?

Of course, this mental fatigue isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is often a notable presentation. When hearing loss has gone untreated, this is particularly true. Though scientists aren’t entirely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been solidly linked to the following issues.:

  • Social isolation: People with untreated hearing loss will frequently begin to separate themselves from others. You’ll go out less often, talk to the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Your brain will often alter the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of dementia: The risk of dementia and other forms of mental decline is greater for individuals with neglected hearing loss. When the hearing loss is effectively managed, the risk decreases significantly.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: Research has shown that neglected hearing loss can also cause increases in both depression and anxiety over time. Again, this risk has been demonstrated to decrease when the underlying hearing loss is effectively managed.

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

Does hearing loss cause cognitive decline?

Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is increased by neglected hearing loss, and that’s one of the more serious consequences of neglecting your hearing problems. It’s quite clear that management of the symptoms helps significantly and scientists have a number of theories as to why. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow down cognitive decline and decrease 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. Here are a number of things we may suggest if hearing loss is identified:

  • Hearing protection: Using hearing protection can prevent additional degradation of your hearing and, as a result, help prevent some of the cognitive strain outlined above.
  • The use of hearing aids: You will hear better with the use of a hearing aid. This can lead to less strain on your cognitive abilities and an improvement in your social scenario. By preventing and limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, decreasing your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.
  • Regular screenings: Before any problems begin to happen, routine screenings can identify them. Managing your hearing loss early can prevent cognitive strain.

You don’t have to stay forgetful!

You can restore strength of memory even if hearing loss is currently causing a little forgetfulness. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your mental function, in many cases, will sharpen. When your brain doesn’t need to work as hard to hear, the rest can be very helpful.

Making an appointment with us can greatly improve your outlook and decrease your risk for other problems. 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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