Do you often feel exhausted after attending social events or going to work? If you do, you may regularly endure the symptoms of fatigue. You may be familiar with the concept of physical fatigue, but today we are looking at how untreated hearing loss causes fatigue due to mental exertion or ‘cognitive overload’.
The Link Between Fatigue and Hearing Loss
A study by the Department of Hearing and Speech Science, conducted at the Vanderbilt University, looked at 149 adults who were being treated for hearing difficulties. 59% of the participants were male, and the mean age was 66. The study involved reviewing the medical records and measurement of subjective fatigue and vigor, using the profile of mood states (POMS) method and the multidimensional fatigue symptom inventory-short form (MFSI-SF). The study participants had varying degrees of hearing loss.
The study noted that participants who were seeking help for hearing issues were more likely to report lower levels of energy. They concluded that those who were seeking help for hearing issues were very likely to report low energy. When compared to the general population, instances of fatigue were twice as common in this group too. Most concerning, they found that mild hearing loss can cause the same feelings of fatigue as a severe hearing loss.
Why Does Hearing Loss Cause Fatigue?
Put simply, it’s due to the sheer exertion of energy used concentrating. This can include filtering out background chatter or having to quickly fill in the blanks of any sounds or words you missed before you respond. That results in less available energy for memory functions and other cognitive tasks. This can lead to poor performance, increased stress, worry and feeling extremely drained.
Unfortunately, because this experience can be overwhelming and isolating, many resort to withdrawing socially. This in turn increases the risk of depression and anxiety.
Another physiological occurrence that causes fatigue is the activation of the body’s natural defence system known as the ‘fight or flight’ reaction.
This helps us if we are threatened by releasing the hormone adrenaline so we can fight or run away. But this reaction is less helpful when triggered by stress, such as frustration from straining to hear.
In this scenario, there is no action to burn up the energy and neutralize the stress hormones – so they stay in the body. When you repeatedly experience this stress, the body becomes flooded with stress hormones. That can have a negative impact on the nervous system and leads to burnout and exhaustion.
Reducing The Impact Of Hearing Loss
To reduce the risk of a hearing loss impacting your energy levels, the first step is to determine the severity of your hearing loss. At Audionics, we will work with you to diagnose and find solutions for your hearing. Hearing aids have been shown to help improve the quality of life, including overall health, relationships and confidence in social interactions. Plus the new advances in hearing aid technology help to reduce background noise, taking the strain out of conversation.
If you’re ready to discuss further, give our team a call today on 212-755-5100 or click here to book a consultation.