Do you feel extra tired or run-down lately, or like there’s nothing you’d rather do after a socially-distanced get together at Mission Dolores Park than lie down and rest? While there are plenty of factors that can contribute to feeling fatigued, there’s one that may surprise you: hearing loss.
Hearing Loss and Depression
Just like any other loss, many people who have been diagnosed with hearing loss go through the five stages of grief identified by Elizabeth Kubler Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. One of the main symptoms of depression is fatigue, so it makes sense that someone recently diagnosed with hearing loss or dealing with the effects of social isolation would feel weary and exhausted.
In addition, depression is a well-known comorbidity of untreated hearing loss. One study on adults ages 50 and older found that those with untreated hearing loss were much more likely to report depression, anxiety and paranoia than those who received treatment, and were less likely to participate in social activities as well.
Hearing Loss and Anxiety
Anxiety is also common for people with hearing loss, as it can be very stressful to worry you’ll miss important information or hear something incorrectly and respond in a way that’s not appropriate. This type of anxiety can cause someone with hearing loss to get stuck in an ongoing state of hypervigilance with elevated adrenaline levels. Overproduction of this stimulant can devastate the nervous system, causing burnout and exhaustion.
Hearing Loss and Listening Fatigue
Listening fatigue is one of the earliest symptoms of hearing loss for many.
The reason listening can cause fatigue is because of how the ears and brain work together to process sounds. Within the ears are tiny hair cells that are responsible for converting soundwaves into electrical energy that the brain interprets as sound. Each of these cells is responsible for a specific frequency, and once the cells become damaged or destroyed, the frequencies are lost. This means the brain has to work extra hard to make sense of sounds with only the remaining sensory cells.
Fortunately, hearing aids can help prevent depression, anxiety and listening fatigue. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call San Francisco Audiology today.