When you think of fatigue, you may associate it with physical exertion like running a 5k or attending a spin class. But fatigue has many possible causes, and hearing loss is one of them. Think about it: When you cannot hear well, you spend a lot of time concentrating on what people are saying and trying to keep up with the conversation. It’s important to take steps to prevent mental fatigue when you’re in stressful settings.
Hearing Loss & Cognitive Load
Even people with normal hearing will feel fatigued after a long conference meeting at work or a lively party. This experience is magnified for those with hearing loss.
Cognitive load describes the effort your brain makes to fill in the blanks when listening to a conversation, meaning there is little energy left to store and process what has been heard into your working memory. This additional effort causes stress and anxiety, which can trigger muscle tension and an adrenaline rush. All of this combined can easily lead to fatigue at the end of the day.
Tips for Preventing Fatigue
To prevent listening fatigue, it’s important to set healthy boundaries and practice self-care throughout the day, especially if you’re returning to work after months of being at home due to COVID lockdowns. Try our tips below.
It’s important to take breaks throughout the day, especially when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Stepping away from social interactions, taking a walk around the block, putting on noise-cancelling headphones and even taking a quick nap can help your brain rest and recharge so you’re ready for the next interaction.
Mediation is helpful for managing stress and anxiety, lengthening attention span, promoting emotional health and enhancing self-awareness. To meditate, simply sit as still as possible, close your eyes and focus on your breath; if you get distracted or experience any negative emotions, simply acknowledge it and let it go. Try to meditate for three to five minutes at a time.
If there’s a setting where it’s extra important to pay attention, like a work meeting or doctor’s appointment, record the interaction on your smartphone so you don’t have to worry about catching every detail. You can also download a transcription app so you can refer to a written record of what is said.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the experts at Decibel Hearing today.