It’s common to feel exhausted after conversing with people at Hampton Roads Convention Center for long periods of time. But for people with hearing loss, this exhaustion is exponential, even for shorter conversations. This feeling of exhaustion that comes after conversing is known as listening fatigue.
What Is Listening Fatigue?
Within the inner ear are tiny hair cells called stereocilia. These hair cells are responsible for converting incoming soundwaves into electrical energy that travels via the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted as sound. Each cell translates a specific frequency (or pitch).
When you have hearing loss, the brain has to work extra hard to make sense of the information it receives from the inner ear. This can be mentally exhausting.
The reason for this is because, when the stereocilia are damaged or destroyed, the auditory system loses the ability to translate that frequency. The brain is left to fill in the blanks, which is a taxing task.
Coping with Listening Fatigue
Below are some tips to help you cope with listening fatigue.
Wear Hearing Aids
One study from 2011 sought to uncover the effect wearing hearing aids has on listening effort and mental fatigue. They found that wearing hearing aids improves word recognition, word recall and visual reaction times.
Take Listening Breaks
Whether you wear hearing aids or not, taking listening breaks can help reduce the effects of listening fatigue. For some, this looks like taking out their hearing aids for a brief amount of time, while for others it means finding a quiet corner of the office or lying down to take a short nap.
Practice Deep Breathing
Research shows that practicing deep breathing can help clear your mind, reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Try taking deep breaths, in and out, to the count of four next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed or frustrated.
Eliminate Background Noise
People with hearing loss oftentimes have trouble following conversations over background noise. If you can, try to find a quiet place to have a conversation and avoid having conversations with TVs or music playing in the background. The less background noise you have to compete with, the less taxing the conversation will be.
For more information on hearing treatment options or to schedule an appointment, call Hampton Roads ENT ~ Allergy today.