Hearing Aid Wearers Experience Less Fatigue & Increased Social Activity 

If you have hearing loss, then you may be aware of how exhausting it can be. While you aren’t expending physical energy when you strain to hear, it can put more stress on our mind to fill in blank spaces in words. This can be surprisingly exhausting. Listening fatigue is a very real issue for those of us with hearing loss. Now a recent study has identified that taking steps to address your hearing can limit the impact on your energy levels every day.

Understanding Hearing Loss

Hearing loss isn’t linked to physical work, but it sure can get tiring. Hearing loss is an irreversible condition. While one day of struggling to hear in social situations may sound difficult with hearing loss there is no respite. Everyday gets more and more challenging as you struggle to make sense of auditory information.

We collect sound with our ears, but the process of listening isn’t completed till sounds reach our brain. It achieves this via tiny hair like cells called stereocilia. When sound waves move through the air, they enter our ear canal and make their way past the eardrum and ossicles where their amplification is refined. Eventually they make it to the stereocilia, housed in the fluid filled cochlea. The sound waves move the fluid which stimulates the stereocilia, which then convert the waves into electrical impulses which are sent to the brain.

If this sounds complicated to you—you are not wrong. Scientists currently don’t fully understand how to replicate the connection between these hair-like cells and the brain. The stereocilia are incredibly fragile and susceptible to damage from a wide array of causes including exposure to loud noise, impact to the head, changes to the ears as we age, certain medications and even environmental toxins.

Brain Fatigue

When hair cells are damaged it becomes impossible for our brains to receive certain sounds, pitches, and tones, causing the brain to struggle to fill in the blanks. As hearing loss becomes more pronounced, it takes us longer to understand what sounds mean. This includes clues of our environment, reduced reaction time to dangerous sounds in our world as well as issues interpreting speech and conversation. This is especially pronounced in noisy environments, where the brain struggles to prioritize important sounds from all the others. With auditory deprivation caused as some of the stereocilia become damaged or destroyed, the brain can no longer rely on its usual shortcuts and paths to figure out what the sounds and voices around us signify.

It’s common for people with hearing loss to rely on visual cues to enhance conversation, such as lip reading, body language and facial expression as well as context cues from what was said previously. Even so it’s very easy to become confused and overwhelmed when hearing loss goes unaddressed. Unsurprisingly, unaddressed hearing loss can make it hard to think clearly and has even been linked to higher rates of cognitive decline and earlier instances of dementia.

A Study Exploring Hearing Treatment and Decreased Fatigue

To better understand the impact of hearing loss on our energy level, a Scottish study examined a test group of 106 people between the ages of 18 and 75 and determined that people who start using hearing aids on average experience less exhaustion. In addition, people seem to use this energy to stay more social and connect with friends, family as well as explore interests and hobbies. The study determined that people with hearing loss once they started using hearing aids, experienced decreased listening fatigue, increased social activity, in comparison to those of similar hearing loss who did not use hearing aids.

For people to be in the group of “new hearing aid users,” they had to say that they had trouble hearing, were getting their first hearing aids, and were not going to the audiology clinic because of tinnitus or balance issues.

Scheduling a Hearing Exam

If you find that you are more exhausted at the end of the day than you were in the past it’s easy to blame it on getting old. In truth it could be an unaddressed hearing loss which is making you feel the exhaustion of the day. Don’t hesitate to schedule a hearing exam with us today and find out if we can help you increase your energy with hearing aids!