Do I Have Short-Term Memory Loss? Exploring The Signs And Symptoms

The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

Forgetting where you placed something or failing to recall someone’s name are common experiences for the average person. While it may be embarrassing or frustrating when your memory fails you, some people experience this consistently, forgetting things that they just did or heard only minutes, hours, or days ago. This is known as short-term memory loss, a condition that can cause hardships in various aspects of life. In this article, we’ll go over some of the different signs and symptoms of short-term memory loss, which may help you determine whether this could be something you’re dealing with. 

What Is Short-Term Memory Loss?

Short-term memory loss refers to forgetfulness of things, people, or places that a person was recently exposed to. You might forget where your family is sitting after running to the bathroom at a restaurant or struggle to remember the name of a coworker who was added to your team earlier in the day. 

While everyone forgets things from time to time, short-term memory loss is more apparent, affecting your ability to be productive and stay focused. Although short-term memory loss usually affects elderly individuals, it can show up in younger people as well. 

Signs & Symptoms Of Short-Term Memory Loss

Short-term memory loss can worsen over time, making it important to spot it early and find ways to help slow its progression. Thus, you need to know what to look for. If you’re experiencing short-term memory loss, you may have some or all of the following symptoms: 

  • Forgetting recent events: Short-term memory loss can lead to difficulties in recalling recent events, causing you to forget the details of an article you just read about in the newspaper or online. You may also struggle to remember what a friend told you, or there could be times when you’re unable to recall a story you were excited to share with your partner upon getting home from work. 
  • Difficulty remembering words: When speaking to other people or writing something down, you might have difficulty finding the right words you’re trying to use to express yourself. These words are often not unusual, but everyday words that you use constantly while communicating. 
  • Losing your belongings: Short-term memory loss can cause you to regularly misplace items, whether at home, work, or out in public. You might place your keys in a drawer upon arriving at work, only to be unable to locate them when it’s time for your lunch break. Or you may leave your cart in an aisle at the store to go retrieve something from another aisle, only to find yourself aimlessly wandering the store because you can’t remember where you left it. 
  • Repeating questions: After asking a question about something, you may repeat the same question a short time later. You may only notice this when someone tells you that they already answered that question when you asked it earlier. 

If these symptoms stand out to you and are something you experience frequently, it’s possible that you could have short-term memory loss. However, in order to be certain, it’s crucial to meet with a medical professional to go over your symptomology, medical history, and other relevant details of your life. They can determine whether you’re facing short-term memory loss or some other condition. 


Experiencing short-term memory loss can be disheartening, as it can make you feel as if you’re losing control over your mind. Although it may be difficult, seeking help for your symptoms can be critical to finding ways to strengthen your memory and improve your productivity. By reaching out for support, you can receive personalized care and guidance that enables you to live an empowered life.

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