21 Feb The Fatigue Factor with Hearing
Most people with untreated hearing loss can tell you that a long day of meetings, social events, and interactions can leave them feeling tired and worn out. Not only do they feel tired at the end of the day, but their hearing may actually be poorer by the end of the day based on research that shows that fatigue can negatively affect hearing. According to a study by hear-it.org, as many as one in five people with hearing loss quit the job market, and of those who continue to work, 15% get so run down by the end of the day that they do not have any energy left for their pasttimes. Research by the Better Hearing Institute demonstrated that untreated hearing loss costs society upwards of 56 billion dollars per year in the US, mainly due to lost productivity at work. For those with hearing loss, the communication obstacles encountered daily in professional and personal environments make their normal workday more psychologically and physically demanding than their normal hearing peers, leading to the perfect storm of stress, compensation, anxiety, and struggle that lead to exhaustion.
The additional cognitive load from a hearing loss is only an issue when the hearing loss is left untreated. With an untreated hearing loss, the hearing impaired individual has to work to listen, rather than just listen. They watch the speaker’s face to speech read, they try to fill in missed words based on context, think about strategic seating, and various other compensatory strategies, all of which can be mentally and physically exhausting. In contrast to their normal hearing peers, who don’t have to think about listening and it just happens, the hearing impaired individual expends a lot of energy performing the basic function of hearing.
Hearing aids are designed to help remove the fatigue from listening. By giving the auditory system back the auditory cues that it was missing, this reduces the cognitive load as much as possible by minimizing the need to “guess”, “fill in the blanks”, or fake it, reducing the need to speech read in many cases, and reduce the stress associated with listening at work.
Hearing loss can affect more than just your hearing, as it does affect your emotional, mental and physical well-being. Don’t let it go undiagnosed. Have your hearing tested today and be proactive about your hearing health!