Severe fatigue and vigor problems in people with hearing loss


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Recent research has shown that people seeking help for hearing difficulties are more likely to suffer from severe fatigue and vigor problems manifesting as feelings of low energy.

Researchers from the Department of Hearing and Speech Science, Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee (USA) analyzed results from a total of 149 study participants consulting for hearing difficulties. 59% were male and the mean age was 66 years. The study involved review of 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 degree of hearing loss varied widely in the sample population.

Findings showed that adults seeking help for hearing difficulties were more likely to report low energy (vigor) and to a lesser extent increased fatigue, compared to the general population. Severe fatigue was even twice as high in the study group. Interestingly, the research team also found that this increased risk appears unrelated to the degree of hearing loss. However, subjectively measured hearing difficulty was strongly associated with all fatigue parameters. They concluded that “The negative psychosocial consequences of hearing loss are strongly associated with subjective ratings of fatigue, across all domains, and vigor.”

The findings of the study were published in late August in the journal Ear and Hearing. The authors recommend further research to determine the cause of hearing loss-related fatigue and to identify factors affecting this fatigue.

Source: Hornsby, BW et al. Subjective Ratings of Fatigue and Vigor in Adults with Hearing Loss Are Driven by Perceived Hearing Difficulties Not Degree of Hearing Loss. Ear and hearing. 2015 Aug 20.