If you have hearing loss, you are probably well aware that you can become tired more easily than someone without hearing loss. PHB has compiled a list of ways to help you cope with this hearing loss fatigue.
Hearing loss is a common condition that is individualized. It's important for individuals to pay attention to how their emotions combined with hearing loss might impact stress levels. When you pay attention to these situations, you can help tailor your mindset and your hearing aids to better cope. If you are stressed by social situations, business meetings, or your work environment recognition is key. Here are a few strategies that can help you cope with hearing loss fatigue.
Take Breaks--You would be understanding if a coworker with a bad back needed to take a break, stand up and stretch or leave a meeting, but this same level of understanding needs to extend to the person with hearing loss. If you find yourself tensing or straining at a meeting or social situation, you need to recognize you might need a break. If your work is understanding, explain your situation to coworkers, or if that's not possible, set aside time before or after meetings to relax and destress. You might also consider making a habit out of napping. Perhaps even set aside part of your lunch hour to take a nap. According to the National Sleep Foundation, "A short nap is usually recommended (20-30 minutes) for short-term alertness. This type of nap provides significant benefit for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep."
Find Your Inner Calm--This isn't meant to sound flip or dismissive, but studies have shown that the stress of worrying about something can cause even normal abilities to freeze up. Ever try to remember something when under stress? It's part of a natural reaction to stress, so learning to find a calm within yourself not only helps you feel better, it makes it easier and less tiring for you to concentrate and thus to hear. Meditation as a tool for mental and physical health is only now beginning to be understood. The best part about meditation is that any amount of time you dedicate to it is helpful, even five minutes. Plus, it's free, and it can also help lower blood pressure and reduce depression. If you're a multi-tasker, you can also try to do a walking meditation and get some exercise too!
Record and Transcribe Meetings--Missing something at work meetings is a real stressor for people with hearing loss. If you're worried about missing something at a meeting, you can try recording the meeting. Using apps like, Voice Recorder Pro which can help you keep up with meetings. If you find you have trouble listening to these recordings, and can't have them delivered directly to your hearing aid, you can try having it transcribed. Here is a video that explains how to use Youtube's automatic Closed Captioning service to transcribe your audio.
Although the technology doesn't yet exist that can accurately transcribe multiple voices, here's another video with helpful suggestions:
Finally, according to Xconomy, you can also pay someone to transcribe your audio and have a meeting transcribed for you within three hours.
Make it Easy on Yourself--Hearing loss fatigue can drain you, make other aspects of your life harder, and leave you little energy for yourself or your loved ones. Hearing is that important. So make it as easy as possible on yourself by investing in the best hearing aid for your lifestyle, or that much needed assistive listening devices, or the best apps that work with hearing aids and your technologies. People with hearing loss often try to outthink their condition. Meaning if they just try hard enough, concentrate hard enough, they're going to overcome their hearing loss. They mistakingly assume this makes them strong. In actuality, it weakens them mentally and physically. Taking advantage of today's hearing technologies is a way to work smarter not harder.
Take Advantage--This might be opposite of the advice you were taught growing up, but if you have hearing loss you need to take advantage of others, specifically your hearing health provider. This doesn't mean show up at their house for dinner unexpectedly. It means go to your appointments, tell them if something isn't working, ask questions, find out what new technologies or updates are available to work with your hearing aids, and explain what listening situations are the most difficult for you. Find the best hearing aid for you. And the "best hearing aid" doesn't mean the best, most expensive aid on the market, it means the best one for you as an individual. This highly individualized condition means that there is no one hearing loss solution for everyone. Talk to your audiologist about your needs, your activities, your financial limits, what stresses you out, and then work with this professional to design the best hearing aids attuned to your life.
Connect--If you want a great resource for hearing loss technologies, so that you can be more informed and find the ones that will aid you the most, please check out the HearingAidForum. Not only can you connect with others who have found solutions to your hearing loss stressors, but you have access to hearing health specialist and manufacturer representatives.
Get a Proper Fit--Hearing aids that are fit properly are shown to improve hearing and ease stress for people with hearing loss. A proper fit hearing aid is essential. And remember proper fitting isn't just one and your done. As this earlier article on PHB shows, it's all about the fit!
Be Kind to Yourself--Believe it or not, your attitude might actually help you hear better! A recent study on people with hearing loss fatigue showed that their attitude was more important than the degree of their hearing loss in determining levels of exhaustion. So instead of berating or belittling yourself for hearing loss challenges, recognize that you are working hard. Simply by paying attention, you are working harder than anyone with normal hearing at work, home, and social situations. So remember that and remember to reward yourself for all of your hard work. You deserve it!
If you'd like to learn more about using hearing aids to compensate for your hearing loss speak with your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!