The challenges that individuals face when living with a hearing impairment impact their lives on a day-to-day basis. One of these challenges, and one that people without hearing loss don't experience, is listening-related fatigue. Hearing loss fatigue happens when those individuals living with hearing loss or impairment are in situations or positions where they are required to be attentive and are exposed to environments that require prolonged listening.
These types of situations can cause undue and exhausting stress on the overall well-being of people with hearing impairments. Understanding how these challenges can impact a person’s mental and physical wellbeing can help us create a more inclusive environment for those living with hearing loss.
Listening-Related Fatigue - Understanding the Impact
A study done in October of 2020 observed that exposure to situations where people with hearing impairments were required to actively participate and focus on listening, did impact their emotional and cognitive well-being negatively.
By having to actively work harder in order to participate in a world dominated by people without hearing impairments, physical and mental fatigue can be quick to set in. This fatigue is caused by the neurological and physical parts of our ears that help translate auditory information to the brain. When these cells are damaged or not working properly, it forces the brain to work even harder to decipher and understand those auditory signals.
The energy and focus that goes into having to actively engage with sounds in a hearing environment can take a toll on your mental health. Let’s take a look at some ways to combat this exhaustion, and to prepare yourself so the impact on your overall health isn’t quite so exponential.
Coping with Hearing Loss Fatigue
In order to reduce the mental and physical stress that hearing loss fatigue may present to your everyday life, we’ve put together a few helpful tips to help step away and recharge. It’s important to care for yourself first, and ensure you don’t further tax your mental wellbeing.
- Rest - If you have the option, a quick 20-30 minute nap can help recharge and rest your senses. This will give your body a moment to reboot, and can help give you a bit more focus. It may be just what you need to get auditory over-stimulation back in check.
- Take a hearing break - If you wear hearing devices, now might be a good time to take them out and seclude yourself for a quick break. Even if it means stepping outside a busy room where you can take a few minutes to refocus, meditate, or think, noise free.
- Breathing exercises - Meditation and deep breathing can help recenter and ground yourself, which can be even more important in cases where you might not be able to step away for your own mental health.
- Reduce background noise - If at all possible, eliminate any of the background din and clutter that may make focusing on speakers or conversations more difficult. This may not always be possible, so ensure that you can step outside if need be.
If at all possible, upgrading your hearing devices or, if you don’t yet have one, being able to speak to your hearing healthcare specialist to get fitted for one can greatly reduce the impact that listening-related fatigue may have on your general health.
The strain caused to people with hearing impairments by living in a hearing-abled world can be difficult to contend with. If you feel your hearing aid devices are not working as well as they could be, please come in to meet the hearing specialists at HearingLife (formerly Family Audiology). Call us today on 607-323-4061 or click here to book a consultation with us online.