Hearing Loss & Fatigue.jpgIt's challenging to explain hearing loss fatigue to someone who doesn't deal with the stress and effort of living a life impacted by hearing loss. It's no wonder that people with hearing loss often report higher fatigue incidents when you consider the additional energy and attention they expend at every turn. 

If your hearing is damaged and you feel a deep and unrelenting sense of exhaustion, you might be suffering from hearing loss fatigue. You can do a few things to replenish your energy stores and get back your sense of ease. 


Where does hearing fatigue come from?

According to the Better Hearing Institute, hearing fatigue is quite widespread, and it costs the US roughly 56 billion dollars per year in lost productivity. To keep up with routine activities and discussions, people with hearing loss must work twice as hard as individuals with good hearing.

Dr. Ervin Hafter of the University of California Berkeley discovered that your brain has to do so much extra processing merely to hear that it affects your cognitive performance negatively. For example, when you're listening to a discussion with background noise, most of your processing capacity is consumed by separating vital speech sounds from unimportant background noise. You do not only have trouble hearing, but you're also having trouble thinking swiftly and clearly.


How to manage hearing loss fatigue

Know your limits

Your boiling point is unique to you, and you can begin to monitor yourself in stressful hearing situations to find the place just before you break. That's an excellent time to pull back and practice self-care. Noticing and responding to your stress level is self-care in itself.

Once you know your limits, you can intervene and disrupt the cycle. Don't suffer through situations that are too challenging. If someone complained of a backache, you wouldn't tell them to tough it out if a five-minute stretching session would alleviate their discomfort. Attending to fatigue and stress from hearing loss is no different. 

If you're in a group setting, excuse yourself for a short walk or a few moments sitting by yourself. Take at least five deep breaths, imagining that you're inhaling tranquility and exhaling stress. 

Restrict your exposure to noisy environments

You can't control much of your hearing life. After all, sound is an external stimulus. However, what you can do is assume some control in terms of what situations you're exposing yourself to. For instance, if a friend's birthday meal will test your limits, make a plan to attend for only a short time and stick to your schedule. 

If background noise causes a dramatic increase in your listening effort, eliminate it. You can always explain the situation and ask friends or family around you to turn off the music or television. If the noise comes from someone you can't make that request of, find a quieter place in the same area. 

It can't be repeated enough: you don't have to suffer through anything unbearable. You often have more choices available than you think.

Consider meditation

Meditation has been practiced by ancient cultures going back longer than recorded history. Science is just beginning to take note and has done numerous studies that back up the time-honored philosophies: Meditation works. If you're new to the idea, search around and find the method that works best for you. 

In almost all cases, those who practice meditation often report higher energy stores, greater resilience in stressful situations, and a more peaceful mental and emotional capacity. And you don't have to travel to the top of the mountain to reap the benefits, and only a few minutes a day in a quiet space can make a dramatic impact on your mental health.

Praise yourself

Every task you complete and every conversation you have is more of a challenge than someone with healthy hearing. This also means that each of those moments is a triumph in itself, just because you persevered. Remember that and be patient when you have setbacks. 


Treating Hearing Loss

Are you experiencing changes in your hearing? It's not easy to live with untreated hearing loss, and taking a hearing test and seeking treatment with hearing aids could help reduce fatigue. For more information and to schedule a consultation, contact us!