Each morning you may feel excited to get ready for the day, but at work you slowly find yourself exhausted and by the end of the day you may feel drained in both physical as well as mental terms, even when you have not engaged in any physically or mentally challenging work per se. If this sounds familiar to you, you might have hearing loss.
We are listening all the time, whether we realize it or not. There are two types of listening; active and passive. Passive listening occurs when we are unaware that we are listening to certain sounds in our environment, such as to the sound of a fan or a humming noise of the air conditioner in the background. This type of listening is most common and occurs throughout the day and night, even when we sleep.
Active listening, on the other hand, occurs when we pay close attention to the sounds we wish to focus on to try and make sense of them and engage directly or indirectly with them. This can range from sounds of people talking to you during a conversation or listening to your favorite song on the radio. Certain alarming sounds can even attract our attention and result in active listening, such as fire alarms, car horns, or sirens.
Given the amount of time we spend listening each day, it is no wonder we are exhausted as our brain tries to filter out the sounds it deems unimportant and focuses on the ones which are important. With hearing loss, however, every sound becomes a bit unclear, which can confuse the brain. Even simple sounds require more effort to be registered and the brain gets confused as to which sound is important and which isn’t, since only intermittent sound signals are reaching it due to hearing loss.
People may have hearing loss without even realizing it for years. It begins by missing out on a few words during a conversation, and slowly progresses to missing out entire sentences. People with hearing loss no longer have the ability to remain as passive listeners since their brain needs to focus on every minute sound to try and make sense of what is going on around them at any given moment.
The effort placed by the brain and the ears during this process of trying to make sense of the low number of sound signals can cause mental fatigue. This is why even a simple day at home or at work can seem like a challenge.
Telltale signs of hearing loss are when people try to change their environments noticeably, such as raising the volume on television to an uncomfortable level, or asking people to constantly repeat themselves. People with hearing loss can often become irritable and complain of being tired most of the time since they are unable to feel like an active member of their surrounding environment. Slowly, they may withdraw from social gatherings and their relationships may become estranged due to untreated hearing loss. If you or someone you love has been feeling exhausted for no apparent reason, maybe it is time to have your hearing tested to see if you can benefit from the use of hearing aids.
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