Find out how we hear through hearing aids and why fatigue is natural.
is more than difficulty understanding speech and hearing sound. We use a lot of energy throughout the day to listen and to communicate.
By the end of a working day, we may feel physically exhausted, tired and sleepy. Our ears never stop working and they never stop listening. We are always aware of sounds around us.
The brain plays a pivotal part in our ability to hear. There are three areas in the brain that are linked with the auditory system to help interpret sound and produce speech:Wernicke’s area
: responsible for understanding speechBroca’s area
: responsible for speech productionTemporal lobe
: responsible for managing hearing
For a person with normal hearing, these three parts work together seamlessly and make listening and communication effortless and easy.
When hearing loss occurs, this perfect relationship becomes disturbed and the brain has to work harder to make sense of the world of sound and noise that surrounds it.
That in turn makes the listener feel tired and fatigued.
How can hearing aids help?Hearing aids
relieve our listening load by making it easier to hear sounds and speech in different environments.
Thus, the brain is no longer straining to fill in the missing gaps and understand speech, and as a consequence less energy is used.
With that being said, it is normal for a new hearing aid user to feel tired after a long day of listening and communicating.
When you are using hearing aids, you are hearing sounds that you haven’t heard for a long period of time.
Your brain is not familiar with certain sounds anymore, for example soft background sounds like the fridge humming or the air-conditioner.
The sound of a door banging or even your own footsteps on a wooden floor might all be causing auditory overload and leaving you feeling tired at the end of the day.
- Start slow. Integrate hearing aids into your life gradually, starting with one or two hours a day
- Take a break – turn your hearing aids off for 5 – 10 minutes
- Limit or eliminate background noises that can make hearing hard. Ask others to turn down their music or the TV while having a conversation with you
- Ask people to face you when talking to you. We use facial and body cues and lip-reading to fill in the gaps that we can’t hear
- Take a nap
In addition to feeling tired, you might also feel stressed, your ears might get itchy and irritated (discomfort) and you may feel disappointed.
How can your family and friends help support you during those first days of using a hearing aid?
We all thrive when we have the support of our family and friends
. They can help you by using the following tips:
- Try not to shout as this can be very uncomfortable for a new hearing aids user
- Try to minimise distracting background noise – turn the kettle off, turn the radio down when having conversations
- Always talk face to face –do not try to have a conversation when you are not facing the listener
- Do not try to have a conversation with someone from the next room