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Hearing impairment and daily-life fatigue: a qualitative study

Holman, Jack A.; Drummond, Avril; Hughes, Sarah E.; Naylor, Graham

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Medical Research Foundation Hearing Fellowship

Professor of Healthcare Research

Sarah E. Hughes

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Professor of Hearing Sciences


Objective: Hearing impairment is linked to increased fatigue, yet little is known about the real-world impact of this fatigue. This qualitative study investigated the experience of daily-life fatigue in people with a hearing impairment.
Design: Individual face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted. Thematic analysis was then used to analyse the data. Study Sample: Fourteen hearing impaired participants (aged 44-70 years) who varied in terms of hearing loss, hearing aid status, age, and gender.
Results: The themes and sub-themes that emerged from the transcripts were: Fatigue (effort-driven fatigue, emotion-driven fatigue, breaks and recovery, the perceived relationship between hearing impairment and fatigue and sleep), Effort (cognitive effort and physical effort), Coping Strategies (withdrawal, avoidance and planning), Relationships and Emotions, Hearing Aid Impact. Conclusions: The study highlights that hearing impairment-related fatigue is experienced by many but not all, and to different extents. Hearing aids were weakly linked to a beneficial effect on fatigue. In addition to the more widely researched effort-driven fatigue, participants described fatigue linked to the negative emotions related to having a hearing impairment. These findings, in conjunction with the widespread utilisation of different coping strategies, demonstrate that the experience of fatigue is varied and likely dependent on personal factors and lifestyle.


Holman, J. A., Drummond, A., Hughes, S. E., & Naylor, G. (2019). Hearing impairment and daily-life fatigue: a qualitative study. International Journal of Audiology, 58(7), 408-416.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 14, 2019
Online Publication Date Apr 28, 2019
Publication Date Apr 28, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 25, 2019
Publicly Available Date Aug 7, 2019
Journal International Journal of Audiology
Print ISSN 1499-2027
Electronic ISSN 1708-8186
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 58
Issue 7
Pages 408-416
Keywords Hearing loss; Hearing impairment; Fatigue; Effort; Daily life
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