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Audiology Specialty Clinic - Sioux Falls, SD

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 cognitive clarity can also be affected. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact the way your brain works in ways that directly impact your mood, your memory, and more.

Sometimes, the link between hearing loss and cognition is subtle. For example, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss may be forgetfulness, but people rarely think that their memory issues are associated with a loss of hearing. Sadly, the reality is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely related.

What’s the connection between memory and hearing loss? Well, the relationship is at least in part related to the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your mental abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Noticing hearing loss can frequently be difficult. Frequently, people fail to notice the early warning signs and more discreet symptoms. For these people hearing loss may only become apparent once it has become moderate or severe. In part, that’s because hearing loss tends to advance rather gradually. People often begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

Another factor is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. As a result, you might not notice that people are more difficult 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. Here are some consequences of asking your brain to do this over long time periods.:

  • Unexplained irritability
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Chronic fatigue

We will be able to help you figure out whether these symptoms are due to hearing loss or not. In instances where hearing loss is present, we’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Can memory issues be the outcome of hearing loss?

Obviously, your brain can be impacted by hearing loss in other ways besides mental exhaustion. Forgetfulness is frequently a notable presentation. This is especially true of untreated hearing loss. Although scientists aren’t completely clear as to the cause and effect relationship, hearing loss has been solidly linked to the following problems.:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to neglected hearing loss isn’t unusual according to numerous studies. Again, this risk has been shown to drop when the underlying hearing loss is successfully managed.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People with untreated hearing loss frequently exhibit an increased danger of dementia and mental decline. This risk falls considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Social isolation: Individuals with untreated hearing loss will often begin to separate themselves from others. You’ll go out less often, chat with the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Your brain will often alter 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 increases with social isolation.

Can cognitive decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more severe 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 may be, but what’s obvious is that management of symptoms helps substantially. In other words, treating your hearing loss has been shown to slow cognitive decline and lower 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 a result of hearing loss, will certainly help. Here are a number of things we might recommend if hearing loss is detected:

  • Regular screenings: Before any problems start to happen, routine screenings can identify them. Cognitive strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously mentioned can be avoided and further damage can be minimized by the use of hearing protection.
  • The use of hearing aids: Using a hearing aid can help you hear better. 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 reduced and your cognition can be improved by limiting your social isolation.

You don’t need to remain forgetful!

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s worthwhile to emphasize that it doesn’t need to remain that way. In many cases, mental functions will return once your brain doesn’t need to strain so hard. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a lot of good.

Scheduling an appointment with us can significantly improve your outlook and decrease 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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