Over the past year, many have seen an increase in virtual meetings as a result of working remotely. If you have ever felt physically tired after a long Zoom call, this may be more complicated than just being annoyed that the meeting could have been an email. Feeling tired from listening to sounds for an extended period of time is known as listening fatigue.
Listening fatigue is especially common for those with hearing loss.
Why Hearing Loss Makes You More Susceptible to Listening Fatigue
You hear with both your ears and your brain. Sounds vibrations travel through your ear, are converted to electrical impulses and are passed through the auditory nerve to your brain where they are interpreted as sound.
Hearing loss is often caused by damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear that are responsible for converting the vibrations into electrical impulses. Each hair cell is responsible for a specific pitch or frequency. Damage to a hair cell means that the range of sounds is not being sent to the brain.
If you have hearing loss, your brain has to work extra hard to fill in the missing pieces. This can be mentally exhausting.
How Hearing Aids Can Help
Most types and degrees of hearing loss can be improved with the use of a hearing aid.
A study published in the September 2013 issue of Ear and Hearing looked at the effect hearing aids had on listening effort and mental fatigue. The researchers tested the word recognition, word recall and visual reaction time of 16 adults between the ages of 47-69 with mild to severe sensorineural hearing loss before and after wearing hearing aids. Participants reported better word recall, and their reaction times were faster when wearing hearing aids.
Ways to Cope with Listening Fatigue
Those with hearing loss can experience listening fatigue anywhere, from their home office to being out and about at Omaha Farmers Market. Below are a few tips to help you cope:
- Take a break from the noise.
- Reduce background noise.
- Try deep breathing exercises.
- Take a nap.
To learn more about how hearing aids can reduce listening fatigue or schedule an appointment with a hearing aid expert, contact Central Plains ENT today.