Eggs. How could forget the eggs? You were making a frittata for dinner, which means you literally forgot the most important ingredient. And, of course, you don’t discover this until you’re home, and you’re too tired–your bones ache too much–to go back to the store. So it looks like you’re eating cereal for dinner. Again.
Is forgetting things a regular thing for you? There are plenty of reasons why you might be feeling run down or forgetting things. But have you considered that the root cause might be hearing loss?
Wait… Hearing Loss Can Make You Tired?
We’d understand if hearing loss isn’t exactly the first thought you have when you’re trying to figure out why you forgot to buy eggs for dinner. But hearing loss can stress and fatigue your brain in some very unique and very subtle ways.
Untreated hearing loss isn’t going to wear you out the same way that, for instance, running a marathon will. It’s easy to notice how sore your legs get or how tired your lungs are after you’ve run 26.1 miles. When you run a marathon, it’s easy to figure out why you’re tired and worn out the next day.
But you probably won’t notice when your ears are straining and straining in that important meeting and your brain is working overtime to understand what your co-workers are saying. All of that hard work flies under your radar and, in most cases, you’ll never know just how hard your brain and your ears are working. But all that work will make you feel tired and worn out, especially if it’s happening chronically.
Effects of Straining to Hear on Your Brain
Your brain is going to try to make sense of the world around you no matter how much sensory input it receives. So as you develop hearing loss, you begin straining without realizing it. You have to concentrate harder to understand words. Your ears listen harder to try to clear up those sounds. And, over time, that can produce the following:
- Headaches: The same way you’d get tension headaches from eye strain, you can give yourself headaches from ear strain as well.
- General fatigue: Your hearing never turns off (you can’t shut off your ears the same way you close your eyes). So you could start to experience a feeling of lethargy; you may just feel run down at the end of the day (or well before the end of the day).
- Forgetfulness: Okay, we talked about the eggs earlier. Something like that could happen because, mentally, you’re exhausted. And that exhaustion can lead to forgetfulness. So you could forget the eggs, appointments, names, and so on.
- Cloudy thinking: Maybe haven’t been as creative or mentally agile as usual lately. Hearing strain can cause your brain to “wear out,” making other mental tasks a heavy lift.
If you got a lousy night of sleep and you’re feeling a bit lethargic, that’s pretty normal. But if you’re feeling run down all the time and you’re constantly forgetting things, it’s a distinct possibility that your hearing (or lack thereof) is the culprit.
Part of the issue, of course, is that you might not even know you have any hearing loss. Thanks in part to how noisy our lives are (earbuds, mobile phones, and even traffic all contribute to that), hearing loss is more common today than it ever has been before. And symptoms are showing earlier and earlier. So if you’re young(ish) and healthy(ish)–and also tired and run down–it might be worth undergoing a hearing screening.
Get Your Hearing Tested
Regular hearing screenings can help you catch hearing loss in its earliest stages. And, if you do happen to exhibit the signs of hearing loss, a hearing aid can help you keep ear strain under control.
In part, because hearing loss is showing up in ever-younger individuals and in part because we’re used to seeing people with technology in their ears (thank you, Bluetooth headsets and Apple earbuds), young people are showing much less reluctance to wear hearing assistance devices.
That’s good news. Because a hearing aid is one of the best ways to keep ear strain to a minimum. And when you keep ear strain low, you may also find yourself more alert, more creative, and more energetic.
Which means you might not forget the eggs for your next frittata.