After a busy day of socializing and interacting with others, do you ever get home and feel exhausted and have low energy? If so, this could be mental fatigue caused by untreated hearing loss.
Mental Fatigue Caused by Hearing Loss
Mental fatigue is the result of effortful listening and is often a side effect of untreated hearing loss.
With normal hearing, your brain is presented with a substantial amount of sound information, which it easily processes. When less information is reaching the brain because of hearing loss, the brain is taking bits and pieces of auditory information and trying to make sense of it all; this is known as cognitive load. The brain then becomes preoccupied with trying to fill in the blanks, leaving little energy left for converting information into working memory.
With hearing loss, your brain is spending additional effort in order to make sense of speech, especially when there is distracting background noise getting in the way. This can cause stress and anxiety. Since stress causes your body to release a burst of adrenaline, this can contribute to you feeling drained or tired at the end of a long day.
How to Reduce Cognitive Load
Below are four ways you can combat cognitive load and help reduce mental fatigue caused by hearing loss.
Take a Break
It is important to relax and let your mind take a break from listening. You can reduce your overstimulation by taking a step away from the conversation, putting on a pair of noise canceling headphones or taking a short nap. These will help you destress and allow you to come back to the action fully charged and ready to listen.
Meditating allows you to find a calm and quiet place, free from the stress of a complex listening environment. A popular tool to improve your physical and mental wellbeing, meditation is free and can be done anywhere. There are a number of five-minute meditations prompts available online to help you get started.
Record Your Interactions
A common cause of stress is a fear of missing important details from conversations had at work or school. Technology is available to help you record your important interactions and eliminate stress. Smartphone apps are even available that convert speech to text, allowing you to read the transcript later.
While the above solutions work well in the short term, the best way to combat cognitive load and mental fatigue is to treat your hearing loss with the use of hearing aids. Once your audiologist has determined your type and degree of hearing loss through a series of tests, they will work with you to select the best hearing aid for your lifestyle, aesthetic preference and budget.
To learn more about selecting the right hearing aid to help you combat mental fatigue or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact Mt. Hood ENT today.