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Did you ever think that hearing-related memory loss is a thing? Memory loss is just one of the side effects of reduced hearing function, but it is one of the most important. As well as having a significant impact on your confidence and day-to-day lifestyle, memory loss can often be misinterpreted as the onset of dementia. However, there’s a good chance that your hearing loss is impacting your ability to retain and recall information.

Does hearing loss affect your memory?

Research has confirmed that hearing loss does have an impact on memory. In fact, it is believed that hearing loss can affect memory function in numerous ways. To understand why hearing function impacts memory, it is important to understand the overall effect hearing loss can have on an individual.

Concentration

When you are experiencing hearing loss, you need to concentrate much more to recognise sounds. Due to the increased concentration required to simply follow the conversation, the brain doesn’t store the information, which is known as cognitive overload. Your brain is too busy trying to listen to and interpret sounds to memorise the content too.

Isolation

Untreated hearing loss often leads to loneliness and isolation. You don’t feel like socialising anymore, which is extremely common amongst people with unresolved hearing loss or tinnitus. When you’re isolated, your brain is exposed to fewer stimuli. As a result, it doesn’t need to work as hard and becomes less active. This can then lead to structural changes and even cause the brain to shrink. Isolation has a negative impact on its performance. When it comes time to recall information, the reduced functioning of your memory means it’s harder for you to remember things.

Anxiety and depression

Many people find that hidden hearing loss has a negative effect on their mental health, with a significant number of individuals experiencing increased anxiety and depression. When depression impacts the memory, it means you are less able to retain and recall information on demand.

Identifying hearing-related memory loss

If you’re experiencing memory loss, it’s important to seek medical advice. While many people often consult their GP, we would advise that you visit us at Strauss Audiology too. A simple hearing test can assess your hearing function and determine whether you are experiencing any form of hearing loss. Even relatively mild hearing loss can cause cognitive overload, which means people can experience hearing-related memory loss without having moderate or severe hearing problems.

This is why we encourage you to have routine hearing tests. By undertaking a non-invasive exam, such as a pure tone audiometry hearing test, we can confirm whether or not you’re experiencing hearing loss and we can recommend the necessary treatment.

Treating and preventing memory loss

When memory loss is related to hearing function, it can typically be resolved quickly and easily. By wearing hearing aids, for instance, you can enhance your hearing function. This prevents cognitive overload, as the brain no longer needs to work so hard to pick up and interpret sounds.

In addition to this, if you wear hearing aids you do not have to isolate yourself from society anymore. Similarly, hearing aids mitigate the effects of hearing loss, which means the risk of developing depression and anxiety are reduced.

A hearing test and appropriate treatment can most definitely help to combat existing hearing-related memory loss and enhance your lifestyle. However, there’s no need to wait until you start experiencing a reduction in memory function to consult with us. By having regular hearing function tests, any potential hearing issues can be identified and resolved quickly, thus reducing the risk of related memory loss occurring.

About Strauss Audiology
Strauss Audiology is a professional audiology business in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, offering expert, effective hearing advice that is tailored to clients’ unique hearing needs. We conduct hearing evaluations, hearing tests and vertigo assessments, and provide a range of solutions to improve and protect clients’ hearing. This includes providing hearing aids to Cape Town clients. With 13 years of experience, and with the qualifications and certifications to deliver leading hearing care, you can trust us to take care of your hearing needs.

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