If you have hearing loss, you might be familiar with the following scenario. Though you are feeling well-rested and energetic prior to a social event, party, or family gathering, you find that you are exhausted within only a few moments of entering. When others are speaking to you, it requires all your energy to focus on what they have to say, and you are often confused by the conversation. You have a sense that you are missing some pieces of the conversation, so you begin to make your best guesses at an appropriate response. This process of carrying on a simple small-talk conversation can be so exhausting that you decide to leave the event early. When another gathering comes up, you feel hesitant to engage, wondering if you will be able to enjoy yourself and to keep up your energy.
This scenario can be all too familiar to someone with hearing loss. When you find yourself in a situation with others who are expecting you to understand what you have to say, the mental and emotional work required of you can be overwhelming. In fact, you might even avoid social gatherings altogether if you become too fatigued at a few of them. With these possibilities in mind, let’s take a closer look at the way that hearing loss can produce fatigue. Not only is communication difficult, but any listening environment can create a sense of exhaustion. Although these settings can be tiring, getting treatment for hearing loss can restore your energy and ability to engage with others.
Communication and Fatigue
The process of communication is quite complex. Not only are we receiving a wide range of signals from others but we are also expected to improvise our own responses. When we are guessing at what others are saying, the process of devising a response can be confusing and anxiety-inducing. Saying the wrong thing might not only lead to miscommunication, but you might even mistakenly hurt someone’s feelings. This stress in a conversation can easily lead to fatigue. When a person with hearing loss is trying to understand what someone has to say, the audible information comes in fragments. Getting too little auditory information produces confusion, a mental scramble, and fatigue at the same time.
Hearing Loss and Exhaustion
Not only is hearing loss known to cause fatigue through the process of communication, but other auditory environments can be exhausting, as well. Take, for instance, watching a movie or television. When you are not able to make out what the characters are saying, your mind goes through a similar mental process as during communication. Although you are not expected to come up with a response, your brain is still working in high gear to take random pieces of sound and to assemble them into a meaningful thought. When you realize that you had been making false assumptions about that sound, you can become even more exhausted, trying to unwind your present understanding and to construct a new one. Auditory environments without language can be disorienting and fatiguing, as well. When you hear a surprising sound or fail to recognize a sound in the world, your brain has to do extra work to decipher where you are, how safe you should feel, and what you should expect in the future.
Treatment and Fatigue Relief
Although fatigue is a common experience among those with hearing loss, the good news is that you don’t need to remain with this experience. Those who get treatment for hearing loss in the form of hearing aids tend to find their fatigue reduced, particularly following communication events such as parties, family gatherings, or social outings. If you have been struggling with fatigue, it is wise to schedule a hearing test. Getting your hearing tested is never a bad idea, and you might find out that the source of your fatigue comes from a treatable condition. We will guide you through the process of diagnosis, consultation, and treatment, helping you arrive at a solution that works for you. Don’t delay making your appointment. When you get the help you need for hearing loss, you might be able to reap a wide range of benefits that includes fatigue relief, as well.