December 6, 2022

Fatigue & Hearing Loss

General Health

Fatigue & Hearing Loss

Hearing loss has been linked to a number of physical, social and psychological conditions, including dementia, diabetes, anxiety, depression and social withdrawal. One of its lesser-known side effects is fatigue.

If you have been feeling more tired than usual lately and have hearing loss, there may be a correlation between the two. The reason boils down to a condition known as listening fatigue, a consequence of expending extra effort to hear better.1

Believe it or not, hearing involves the brain just as much as the ears. Your brain receives sensory input from the inner ear and is responsible for processing sounds and translating them into recognizable speech. Damage to the hair cells of your inner ear—a common cause of hearing loss—limits your ability to hear properly; when this occurs, your brain is forced to “pick up the slack” and works extra hard to understand what you are hearing. Doing so is taxing and often leads to feelings of exhaustion and decreased energy levels, even if you have refrained from any sort of physical activity.

Wearing hearing devices should significantly reduce these feelings of exhaustion. Because they amplify speech, your brain does not have to work as hard to convert this sensory input into sound, greatly reducing listening fatigue and resulting in less physical tiredness and a boost in energy.

Other tips for reducing listening fatigue include:

  • Taking a short break from noise, even if only for a few minutes every hour. Try to find a quiet place to walk or relax.
  • Breathing deeply. Pausing on occasion to take deep breaths is an excellent relaxation method and can help give your brain a much-needed break.
  • Eliminating background distractions. Background noise is one of the biggest obstacles to hearing effectively. Try turning off the television or music, or move to a quieter place if there are background noises you cannot control.
  • Taking a quick nap. If the other methods are ineffective, try taking a 20-to-30-minute nap. You’d be surprised at what a difference this can make—a rested brain and a rested body go hand in hand.

You deserve to hear your best, and new hearing technology can help you do just that! Contact an audiologist at Fort HealthCare Audiology at 920.563.6667 in Fort Atkinson or 262.473.8920 in Whitewater to explore your options and schedule a hearing evaluation or complimentary hearing screening.