Listening Fatigue related to Hearing Loss

Listening fatigue as it relates to hearing loss. It’s an interesting topic. In short it is about the effort required to hear and join in with conversation when you have a hearing loss. Many times the effort does not outweigh the interest of the conversation and that’s when zoning out starts. Additionally, social isolation and cognitive decline can become an issue.

The Cost of Silence

As time goes by, many things in our lives become more difficult. Lots of the things we do, without thinking even, suddenly require a bit more effort.

The sorts of things we’re talking about here, you are probably already imagining. Exercise! It takes more effort to walk to places. It seems a bit harder to carry the shopping. The laundry feels heavier than it used to etc.

We tend to ignore these trends. After all it is simply part of the ageing process. We don’t get any younger and we accept that.

Listening Fatigue related to Hearing Loss - image of Sound of Silence album cover by Simon & Garfunkel
Simon & Garfunkels the Sound of Silence


However, there are other things that we cannot just accept without taking action. Sight is one of those obvious things. For example, as soon as we start squinting to read a book or a menu, usually the people around us are the first to point it out. “Having trouble reading the…”, and we smile with good grace and make an appointment at the opticians. As with the other physical changes, loss of long- or short-range sight, is easy to notice, acknowledge and deal with. We accept it easily.

Listening fatigue

Likewise there is another extremely common faculty that loses efficiency over time too. Our hearing.

The obvious difference here is that hearing loss is an invisible problem. Everyone can see you squint, but who knows what you are, or aren’t, hearing.

Additionally, hearing loss has a much more subtle effect on our daily lives. If you can´t read the instructions or check the bill, that is an obvious and immediate issue. Maybe you can’t quite hear the radio, you can just turn it up a bit and blame the ageing speaker. Perhaps you don’t quite catch what the reporter said on the news, you can turn it up a bit and promise to get a TV with better speakers next time.

If someone calls out to you at the shops or on the street, just to tell you you dropped something for example. And you don’t hear them. You will simply never know where you lost that receipt. You just won’t even perceive there is a problem.


The real problem comes when you adapt so much that you decide you don’t have a problem. The TV, radio all easily solved. But then there is conversation with friends and even telephone calls. Situations that you have been in all your life and never even thought about them.

Suddenly you notice that someone says something that nothing to do with the subject of the conversation. Very odd. You concentrate a bit more and realise that in fact the conversation has actually move on and you didn’t realise.

At that point, although you can’t just “turn it up”, you can make an excuse and leave the conversation entirely. That way you can avoid confronting the real issue, that you can’t hear exactly what people are saying any more.

Zoning Out

Whilst initially you may treat this turn of events like the radio or TV. You can just adapt, listen harder, move in a bit closer, pay close attention to people’s mouths as they speak. Problem solved!

The issue here is that it is not always possible to do this effectively. You cannot just “turn up the volume” of day to day conversation. Additionally as time goes by, instead of addressing the problem, we tend to do the other very human thing. Ignore it.

We tell ourselves that those conversations weren’t ever that interesting anyway. The radio is more interesting. The TV news is more useful. The thing with those devices is that you are only required to listen. Importantly, there is no real interaction with TV and radio. Shouting at them doesn’t count!

What tends to happen at this point is that we avoid social interaction because it has become to hard to participate. We withdraw into our own less interactive world.

Over time that withdrawal from all social interaction means that we don’t have to “keep up”. Our brains don’t have to meet that challenge of a dynamic and unexpected turns of conversation. We don’t have to think, just be passive listeners of radio shows and TV programs.

Taken to the extreme, cognitive decline becomes the problem. Not just hearing loss. This is why listening fatigue related to hearing loss should not be taken lightly.

What to do about Listening Fatigue related to Hearing Loss?

The great thing about this whole area is that in reality it is as easy to resolve as simple sight loss. We get tired eyes, we give them a helping hand with glasses.

Tired hearing is 100% as easy to treat. Hearing aid technology is incredible today. Not only are the devices themselves almost invisible, but they are also rechargeable and totally adjustable. No new lenses here every 12 months!

Make an appointment with us today. Don’t delay. You know if you aren’t hearing as well as you used to. Come and see us and we can test your hearing, and if necessary treat it.

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