Everyone, whether you have hearing loss or not, has experienced the relief of leaving a meeting, exiting a party or ending a Zoom call. This is because social interactions are taxing – they require attention, focus, memory and utilize a lot of cognitive resources. This is especially true for people with hearing loss. Below we explore the connection between hearing loss and mental fatigue, and provide tips for preventing this phenomenon.
Why Does Hearing Loss Cause Fatigue?
Many parts of the ears and brain work together to help us make sense of auditory input.
The inner ears contain tiny sensory hair cells, which convert soundwaves into electrical energy that the brain interprets as sound. Each hair cell is responsible for specific frequencies, so when they become damaged or destroyed, the auditory system can no longer process that particular frequency. This forces the brain to work harder to compensate, leading to fatigue.
Three parts of the brain work together to help process sound and produce speech: the temporal lobe, Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area. According to research from Johns Hopkins, lack of stimulation in these parts of the brain can lead to atrophy and shrinkage. Early intervention is key to preventing these neuroplastic changes.
How Can I Prevent Listening Fatigue?
Whether you have hearing loss or not, these tips can help prevent listening fatigue.
Take a Break
If you’re sitting through a long meeting at work or enjoying a meal with your family at Bambara Salt Lake City, it’s ok to excuse yourself if you need a break. Taking a walk around the block or finding a quiet corner for a few moments of solitude may be all you need to give your ears and brain a break. If you wear hearing aids, you can take them out for a few minutes while you rest.
Eliminate Background Noise
Listening in situations with background noise is notoriously difficult for people with hearing loss. The less background noise that’s present, the less your brain will have to work to filter it out while you have a conversation. Try to hold meetings, calls and conversations somewhere quiet.
Take a Nap
The National Sleep Foundation reports that a 20-30 minute nap can make you more alert and improve performance without making you feel groggy or interfering with your sleep schedule.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Bountiful Hearing Center today.