Musicians Need to Protect Their Hearing!! By: Lisa D. Cahill, Ph.D., CCC-A
Do You Have Hearing Loss Exhaustion?
If you suffer from hearing loss, you may find yourself surprisingly low on energy. No matter how many cups of coffee you drink or hours of sleep you get, do you still feel tired? If you can’t figure out why you feel so fatigued, consider your hearing loss as a likely cause.
Hearing Loss and Fatigue Go Hand-in-Hand
Do you feel disappointed or overwhelmed by the sense that you can’t keep up with the necessary demands of life, much less find the energy to enjoy your favorite pastimes? Hearing loss and fatigue may seem like unrelated ailments, but they are much more connected than it seems. Exhaustion -that is caused by hearing loss- is a common problem among hard-of-hearing individuals, many of whom are not aware that their hearing loss is the source of their fatigue.
Study Says Children and Adults with Hearing Loss Suffer Exhaustion
According to Dr. Ervin Hafter, a professor of psychology at the University of California Berkeley, hearing-loss exhaustion occurs because of the extra mental work that hard-of-hearing people must exercise to get through their day. From keeping up with conversations at work to processing the sounds on the street, the body expends much of its energy to struggle to hear.
With this expenditure the body becomes exhausted much more quickly than it would otherwise. A recent study confirmed that this phenomenon does not solely occur in adults—children who have hearing deficits also expend their energy trying to hear in school and at home. Many kids find themselves in a state of exhaustion much more rapidly than others who do not suffer from hearing loss.
Side Effects of Hearing Loss Worsen Fatigue
Other side effects of hearing loss may make fatigue even worse. Depression, stress and anxiety -which can occur as a result of hearing loss – can exacerbate a person’s fatigue. David Copithorne, a hearing communications consultant and author of the hearing loss blog HearingMojo.com, explained how his anxiety and depression related to hearing loss led to complete physical exhaustion.
When he realized he could no longer experience certain joys in life, like music, he fell into a deep, physically-draining depression. When he would struggle to keep up with conversation in meetings at work, he often became intensely anxious and stressed. The constant high-adrenaline state exhausted him. He also suffered cycles of anxiety and depression over and over, and as a result, his fatigue seemed constant.
If you are hard of hearing, chances are you have likely experienced exhaustion because of the physical and emotional side effects of the sound deficit. Perhaps you can relate to David Copithorne’s struggle. People who have hearing deficits must constantly work to ward off depression, anxiety and fatigue. Find a way to fight your fatigue to improve your quality of life.
Tips for Hearing-Loss Exhaustion
There are steps that you can take to overcome your hearing-loss exhaustion and to improve your productivity and increase your happiness. As with any lifestyle change, every individual is different, and a trial and error period may be necessary to find what works for you. For Copithorne, regular aerobic exercise and short midday naps helped him keep his energy levels from dipping. Other options include meditation, breathing exercises and yoga.
If you have untreated hearing loss and find yourself fatigued, seek treatment as this could make all the difference in your energy level. Even if a hearing aid is not absolutely essential to navigate daily life, your body exerts extra energy to compensate when you have a hearing deficit. If a hearing aid is likely in your near future, see an audiologist for one now—rather than waiting for the inevitable. This could help your body conserve the energy it expends when you strain to hear. You may not be ready for a hearing aid, but you will never know unless you see a specialist. A proper hearing test eases you into the notion of wearing a hearing aid.
Hearing-loss exhaustion is difficult to overcome, but it is certainly possible. With a little trial and error and an open mind to different coping strategies, you can beat fatigue and exhaustion. Now that you understand the association between hearing loss and fatigue, have more energy than you imagined you could by getting professional help.