Hearing Loss & Fatigue

Hearing Loss & Fatigue

Peter Lucier, HIS

It’s normal to be exhausted at the end of a long day. Overwhelming exhaustion can happen for a number of reasons. Perhaps you had a day full of strenuous exercise or social activity.  Perhaps you spent all day problem solving and exhausting your mind or perhaps you need to drink more water. However, if  you have been feeling more tired and fatigued lately there could be a connection between your fatigue and hearing loss. If you are feeling exhausted all the time but can’t figure out why, it could be caused by something called listening fatigue. Listening fatigue is a condition that is caused by the extra efforts you are unconsciously making to try to hear.

Problems with our hearing can deplete our mental and physical energy in ways we aren’t always conscious of. Hearing loss can have a huge impact on the daily stress we are subject to, especially in workplace and professional situations. If you have hearing loss and fatigue, some simple lifestyle modifications may help you reclaim your energy and alertness.


Over Working Your Ears

A person with healthy hearing doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about hearing. If you can hear normally listening generally doesn’t require as much focused concentration. For someone with untreated hearing loss straining to hear requires a lot of thought and extra energy. Your brain generally uses 20% of the calories you consume daily. When certain regions of the brain–like those associated with hearing–are activated, local capillaries dilate to deliver more blood than usual, along with extra glucose and oxygen.

When you are putting a lot of thought into listening, you require more energy and that’s why you can find your mind more exhausted at the end of long day full of social interactions. Using hearing aids to compensate for hearing loss, can relieve your brain, requiring less calories, less strain, and resulting in less daily exhaustion.


Effects on Our Brain

Hearing loss  contribute to mental health issues linked to fatigue. The effects of hearing loss contribute to increased rates of anxiety, isolation and depression. Misunderstandings linked to hearing issues can cause frustration and confusion that fuel anxiety. The challenges of communication can produce feelings of isolation and retreat that can easily fuel depression. Studies have found a strong correlation between untreated hearing loss and the development of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  Alzheimer’s disease affects memory, thinking, language, perception, and behavior from deteriorated nerve cells in the brain tissue.  Untreated hearing loss also links to depression from the feeling of anxiety and social isolation from one’s family and friends.


Improved Hearing Reduces Fatigue

Depending upon the severity of the loss, hearing aids can improve listening and speech comprehension and effectively decrease listening fatigue. A study by researchers at Vanderbilt University tested 16 adults between the ages of 47-69 years of age with mild to severe hearing loss to explore the effect hearing aids would have on listening effort and mental fatigue. The participants’ word recognition, word recall and visual reaction time were tested with and without hearing aids. Results indicated that participants experienced improved word recall, and their reaction times were significantly quickly when hearing aids were employed.


Hearing Aid Specialists of the Central Coast

If you aren’t hearing as well as you used to and believe you are experiencing listening fatigue, it’s time to have your hearing evaluated by a qualified hearing healthcare professional at Hearing Aid Specials of the Central Coast. The first step in treating hearing loss is to take a hearing test and if a hearing loss is detected most often it is treated with hearing aids. Studies show most people with hearing loss procrastinate an average of seven years from the time they first experience the signs of hearing loss before they decide to take a hearing test. This is unfortunate because hearing aids have so many positive benefits. Hearing aids amplify speech sounds and help with localization. For people with hearing loss, hearing aids help us reconnect with our family, friends, and colleagues by making communication easier

If you’ve experienced fatigue from hearing loss, contact us at Hearing Aid Specialists of the Central Coast to schedule a hearing test.  Hearing aids can help alleviate the constant struggle to hear, a give you back the energy you would have expended with untreated hearing loss.