Hearing Loss & Fatigue

Jesse Western
Latest posts by Jesse Western (see all)

Have you been feeling completely exhausted at the end of the day? Or maybe you’ve noticed fatigue set in after a long conversation with a friend. The fact of the matter is that hearing loss is exhausting. When you’re tired after listening for a few hours, you have what we call listening fatigue.

What Is Listening Fatigue?

Everyone can get listening fatigue from time to time, but it’s very common for people with hearing loss. Listening fatigue is like your brain’s way of telling you it’s been straining to hear for too long. Listening fatigue means your brain is tired and needs to rest before you can keep listening.

How does Hearing Loss Lead to Listening Fatigue?

For people with hearing loss, listening fatigue can be a daily occurrence. When you have a difficult time following conversations, your brain is working extra hard to help you make sense of what’s being said. Your brain works overtime trying to make sense of the sounds you are able to hear, and guessing at the sounds you’re missing. This takes a huge amount of energy. 

On top of straining to hear, your brain also has to do all the normal tasks like focusing on finishing a job, talking, remembering information, and navigating the world around you. No wonder you get listening fatigue! If you’re living with untreated hearing loss, listening fatigue can happen sooner, after less listening, and stay around for longer. 

Treating Hearing Loss and Reducing Listening Fatigue

Wearing quality hearing aids is the best way to reduce listening fatigue. Modern hearing technology is designed to make listening easy. Speech enhancement programs help you hear the consonant sounds clearly, and help you make sense of words and sentences without straining to hear. Background noise reduction turns the volume down on distracting sounds so you can focus on what you want to hear. And connectivity features even let you connect your hearing aids to your phone, computer, or any other Bluetooth enabled devices. This means the audio from phone calls or online meetings will go right to your ears. You’ll be able to hear without straining, and reduce listening fatigue. 

Tips for Coping with Listening Fatigue

If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed or tired, there are a few ways you can cope with listening fatigue throughout the day and in the evening. Next time you notice listening fatigue, try some of these tips:

  • Turning off background noise: Nothing makes you more tired than straining to hear in places with a lot of background noise. If you have background music playing, or have the TV on in another room, we recommend turning off all that background noise. Your brain has to work much harder to focus on what’s being said in the conversation when the brain also has to process all that background sound. Do your brain a favor and make the space as quiet as possible. 
  • Taking a break: Another great way to relieve listening fatigue is by taking a break. For example, at the end of a meeting take a short break to give your brain a rest. You can sit in silence for a few moments, take a coffee break, or go for a walk in the park or down a quiet street.
  • Taking a nap: If you’re home during the day and you start to feel the effects of listening fatigue, try taking a short nap. We recommend closing your eyes for just 15 to 20 minutes. Taking a longer nap can disrupt your night-time sleep. Having a nap for a few minutes will let your brain rest and relax.
  • Practicing mindfulness or deep breathing: Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the sounds around you? Try taking a few deep breaths to calm your body, reduce stress, and decrease anxiety. Deep breathing can also lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health.

These are just a few of the tips you can try next time you notice listening fatigue. Don’t forget that the best thing you can do for your brain is to treat your hearing loss. Contact us to learn about hearing aids, and find the modern devices that will give you clear hearing and reduce listening fatigue.