Can Hearing Loss Cause Brain Fog?

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Note:. No matter what the cause, brain fog episodes should be evaluated by a physician.

In the World of Hearing Loss, Brain Fog is one of the topics that few want to talk about. But it does happen and must be acknowledged. Brain fog can have serious physical and emotional consequences. In social settings or at work, it may lead to accidents, falls or errors. It may also unleash panic or anxiety reactions.

People are usually aware of the triggers that can bring on symptoms, such as increased reaction time, mild confusion, difficulty concentrating, loss of focus, fatigue, feeling spacey etc. Spending lengthy periods in loud or sound-confused environments, multitasking under pressure as well as physical and mental stress are often mentioned.

Although such situations can overtax anybody, the very nature of hearing loss becomes easily a pre-disposing factor. Adding vestibular issues and obnoxious tinnitus into the mix, makes the occurrence of brain fog all the more likely.

Brain fog induced behavioral changes are not only noticeable to those affected but also to those around them. Ever since the news of a possible connection between hearing loss and dementia has been effectively spread among the general public, rumors and fears of dementia immediately arise. This can be quite demoralizing to people. However, having hearing loss does not mean that one is invariably headed to the “memory care” ward.   

How can hearing loss cause brain fog? 

Living with hearing loss is tiring and energy-consuming. Communication becomes a chore, especially under pressure. People experience  Listening Fatigue. The brain becomes more easily overwhelmed as it tries to process complex sound input. The extra energy spent on listening, hearing and communicating is no longer available for other tasks or activities.

The brain slows down as mental fatigue sets in. It’s like a computer with too many open folders. The little wheel pops up and loading data stalls. Although hearing aids and cochlear implants help, they also have their limits and may not be able to fend off brain fog altogether and in every situation.     

Tips for dealing with brain fog

  • If hearing loss could be a reason for brain fog symptoms, get tested and diagnosed and get appropriate hearing help.  
  • Know your possible triggers. Expressions such as “too late, too long and too loud” are often mentioned when people share experiences.  Learn when and how to hit the Mute Button:
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet and stay physically and mentally active. 
  • Plan your day and know your physical and emotional limits.
  • Take your breaks at work. Go to a quiet(er) place where the brain can rest. Many people mention that not getting breaks sets them up for slowing down and becoming unfocused or foggy.  
  • Consider stress-reducing methods, such as breathing techniques, yoga or meditation
  • Are you allowed to record meetings at work for later review?
  • Might a speech-to-text phone app make it easier to stay on track during meetings or to follow conversations?
  • Avoid taking on extra duties such as late evening volunteering –  when the brain is already plenty tired from day activities and work
  • When experiencing symptoms of being foggy, spacey or stalled – no matter what the cause – do NOT drive or operate dangerous equipment. Instead, take a break.  Allow the brain to calm itself and to reset the gyro, so-to-speak

In the end…

Although hearing loss can be a pre-disposing brain fog factor, share your concerns with your doctor. Keep track of the triggers and symptoms. When in doubt, step back and do not push yourself. Prevent the fog from settling in by being aware and by developing a plan for staying focused and safe


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