You wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go. But by mid-day the thought of speaking to one more person leaves you feeling exhausted both physically and mentally. If this sounds like you or someone you know and you or they have untreated hearing loss, there is a very real possibility that a hearing loss is in part causing the feeling of exhaustion.
PASSIVE VERSUS ACTIVE LISTENING
We process what’s going on around us both actively and passively. “Passive” listening occurs all the time. Our brain alerts us as to when it might be time for more “active” listening. Here are a few examples of when we tend to become “active” listeners:
- When a topic is interesting
- When someone mentions our name
- When an unusual sound requires our attention
- When we hear a warning signal, i.e. a car horn or siren
Listening that requires a great deal of concentration can be an exhausting process. The longer we’re required to be an “active” listener the more tiring the experience will be. People with normal hearing can also experience exhaustion following a long period of active listening. The following are tasks that may require an extended period of active listening for normal hearing individuals:
- Speeches or sermons delivered by someone with a thick, foreign accent
- Conferences or meetings that introduce a great deal of new information
- Legal, financial or medical proceedings that require understanding complex information often involving new and unfamiliar terminology
UNTREATED HEARING LOSS
Someone with an untreated hearing loss spends a great deal of their day being an active listener. They aren’t afforded the luxury of being a “passive” listener and the effort of struggling to comprehend what’s being said all day can be exhausting.
By the middle of the day it’s easy for the person with the untreated hearing loss to limit their interactions with others. Maybe the TV or radio was a tolerable volume setting for everyone else in the household in the morning, but not any long. The person with the hearing loss is tired of struggling to hear, so naturally they raise the volume of anything they can. And anything they can’t hear is either ignored, asked to speak louder or has to endure the all too familiar phrase, “what did you say?”
If this sounds like you or someone you know, it’s time to call. No one should spend day after day struggling to hear and feeling exhausted from the struggle day in and day out when there is a solution.