Holiday Auditory Exhaustion Syndrome is Here!

Posted by Julie, Volunteer Mentor @julieo4, Nov 28, 2022

Having just gone through the Thanksgiving holiday with my family gathering at my home, I'm reminded of the reality of auditory fatigue once again. I love my family, and enjoy special times, but my hearing loss does create barriers to communication. I've been this way for so many years that I expect it and know how to work my way through it. Still, it isn't easy to miss so much of the 'fun stuff'.

For example, since TG day, I've learned several things my granddaughters are doing or planning to do that didn't get through to me on 'the day'. I'm grateful to my husband for his willingness to join me for coffee in a quiet place where we can just talk. The conversation tends to lead to what 'the kids' are doing. At that point I start realizing how much I missed during the real conversation. At that point he also realizes how much I missed, but still scratches his head wondering how that is possible. Of course it's because there are several conversations going on at once, along with the TV blasting a few football games! Happy Thanksgiving!! 🙂

I cope pretty well with this but can't help feeling a bit left out at times. It confuses people when you go back several days later to comment, ask questions, congratulate, etc. We risk being labeled as inattentive or just plain not smart. On the other hand, I would never not go there because I'd simply fade into the background forever!

This is such a common thing among people with hearing loss that I thought it might open a few hearts and minds to openly discuss it in the MCC Hearing Loss Group.

How do you manage family gatherings?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Hearing Loss Support Group.

@julieo4

I go through my family gatherings fairly well. My grandchildren are all in their 20s so that younger type of noise is eliminated. I used my Live Transcribe app a lot when my family was over for a couple of days. I live across the breezeway of my daughter and son in laws's large house…wood floors , high ceilings. My son in law always has the music on…basically the entire house including garage is wired for sound. We did not have any other friends over since there were 11 of us (one granddaughter away at school) But generally one of my children or DIL or SIL will explain briefly to anyone about my hearing. I will always miss things big time but that's the way it is. If we are watching a tv show…my kids always put the captioning on without me asking.

As an aside. My long time Audi has left the ENT practice for bigger and better things…the best one I have ever had.
She hasn't been replaced yet but recommended one other in the practice who I think visits one of the locations not too far from me at least once a week. If not…when I think the time is right I will see if she will be available…if not… I have one or two others in mind. I would like to stay with the ENT practice since they have absolutely everything about me in their system and it would be a seamless transition.

This is the time of year I think…yet again…about a CI for my left ear. I am currently using a Bicros in that ear that sends sound to the better right ear. The evaluation I had with an amazing CI/Audiologist early on this year at another practice was very honest and I would approach her again but she has left that particular practice for parts unknown!

Honestly I will probably never take the CI route. That CI Audi said that the longer you go with a hearing loss the less successful the outcome may be. She guessed that maybe she could get that ear up from about 15% to 50%. While that is a significant improvement, I am not sure I want that invasive surgery or commit the time and energy for all the followups and programming. I am 81 this past spring and have not really altered any of my daily active routines in many years and have had some degree of hearing loss for 45 years…mild to currently profound.
I am so adaptive to my situations and use apps quite a lot and very proactive and so very use to the limitations. Sometimes I really feel so out of the loop but it doesn't seem to matter that much anymore. That attitude could be to the fact that as you age you accept more. I am so thankful for my excellent health and stamina…no pains…nothing organically wrong with me…even my macular degeneration in that right eye has been stable for so long. These are not excuses but my rationale.

Got off the track….loopy from so much online holiday shopping lol

FL Mary

REPLY

Our experiences are likely quite similar. I've been using hearing technology since the mid 70s and am just a slight bit younger than you are. Also thankful to be healthy other than having lived with progressive hearing loss since the 1960s. My 'grands' are all in their 20s. They are doing some very exciting things that gets the conversation going. They know I don't hear, and do take time to sit with me alone, but when the gang is together it's not so easy. My intent with my original comments was to get some conversation going in the hearing loss group. Let's hope that happens. We know that discussing our unique issues validates the feelings few people who don't have HL understand.

Good luck with the new audiologist. We are having a revolution here in our area of Wisconsin that I suspect is going to happen elsewhere. One of our major medical groups in the state has shut down its entire audiology department. The ENTs are still there, but with the OTC hearing aids coming on the scene, the 'business department' evidently has decided that people will go elsewhere for hearing aids. I personally know 4 audiologists in our area who lost jobs and are now unemployed. Word has it that some of them are joining one of the area's private practices.

REPLY
@imallears

@julieo4

I go through my family gatherings fairly well. My grandchildren are all in their 20s so that younger type of noise is eliminated. I used my Live Transcribe app a lot when my family was over for a couple of days. I live across the breezeway of my daughter and son in laws's large house…wood floors , high ceilings. My son in law always has the music on…basically the entire house including garage is wired for sound. We did not have any other friends over since there were 11 of us (one granddaughter away at school) But generally one of my children or DIL or SIL will explain briefly to anyone about my hearing. I will always miss things big time but that's the way it is. If we are watching a tv show…my kids always put the captioning on without me asking.

As an aside. My long time Audi has left the ENT practice for bigger and better things…the best one I have ever had.
She hasn't been replaced yet but recommended one other in the practice who I think visits one of the locations not too far from me at least once a week. If not…when I think the time is right I will see if she will be available…if not… I have one or two others in mind. I would like to stay with the ENT practice since they have absolutely everything about me in their system and it would be a seamless transition.

This is the time of year I think…yet again…about a CI for my left ear. I am currently using a Bicros in that ear that sends sound to the better right ear. The evaluation I had with an amazing CI/Audiologist early on this year at another practice was very honest and I would approach her again but she has left that particular practice for parts unknown!

Honestly I will probably never take the CI route. That CI Audi said that the longer you go with a hearing loss the less successful the outcome may be. She guessed that maybe she could get that ear up from about 15% to 50%. While that is a significant improvement, I am not sure I want that invasive surgery or commit the time and energy for all the followups and programming. I am 81 this past spring and have not really altered any of my daily active routines in many years and have had some degree of hearing loss for 45 years…mild to currently profound.
I am so adaptive to my situations and use apps quite a lot and very proactive and so very use to the limitations. Sometimes I really feel so out of the loop but it doesn't seem to matter that much anymore. That attitude could be to the fact that as you age you accept more. I am so thankful for my excellent health and stamina…no pains…nothing organically wrong with me…even my macular degeneration in that right eye has been stable for so long. These are not excuses but my rationale.

Got off the track….loopy from so much online holiday shopping lol

FL Mary

Jump to this post

Regarding the CI issue. If you are serious about wanting to consider this, go to a CI hospital to get tested and evaluated. There tends to be some negativism among some hearing healthcare professionals about CIs working for older people. My CI was done in the ear that had gone unaided since diagnosis in the 1960s until I had the surgery in 2005. I had heard nothing in that ear for decades. Now it's my 'good ear'. There are 4 people in our HLAA chapter here who had CI surgery in their mid 80s. They are all doing very well. A lot does depend on a person's health status and willingness to work with the new way of hearing. I was one of the lucky ones who didn't have to work that hard at rehab. Perhaps because an HLAA friend I had great respect for told me to rehab that unaided ear prior to surgery. I had an old back up hearing aid with a strong telecoil that I had fit to that poorer ear and listened to audiobooks via telecoil for a year prior to having surgery. It worked for me. No wonder I'm such a strong believer in telecoils! Without the telecoils that hearing aid did nothing for that ear prior to CI surgery.

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@julieo4

That’s very helpful…I never considered going to a hospital. Now you got me thinking again..drat! Lol. . I am always curious and will research hospitals near me….”near me” being a plus.

Oh you’ll be hearing from me again on the CI thread one way or the other.

😊
Thanks
FL Mary

REPLY
@julieo4

Our experiences are likely quite similar. I've been using hearing technology since the mid 70s and am just a slight bit younger than you are. Also thankful to be healthy other than having lived with progressive hearing loss since the 1960s. My 'grands' are all in their 20s. They are doing some very exciting things that gets the conversation going. They know I don't hear, and do take time to sit with me alone, but when the gang is together it's not so easy. My intent with my original comments was to get some conversation going in the hearing loss group. Let's hope that happens. We know that discussing our unique issues validates the feelings few people who don't have HL understand.

Good luck with the new audiologist. We are having a revolution here in our area of Wisconsin that I suspect is going to happen elsewhere. One of our major medical groups in the state has shut down its entire audiology department. The ENTs are still there, but with the OTC hearing aids coming on the scene, the 'business department' evidently has decided that people will go elsewhere for hearing aids. I personally know 4 audiologists in our area who lost jobs and are now unemployed. Word has it that some of them are joining one of the area's private practices.

Jump to this post

@julieo4

That’s interesting. I wonder if the two Audis that I know read the handwriting on the wall and that’s why they moved on.
We have so many Audis in Florida to pick and choose among and be picky about who we choose. I hope that doesn’t change too much here. I also hope the competence level doesn’t deteriorate. Yeah…times they are achangin’

FL Mary

REPLY
@julieo4

Regarding the CI issue. If you are serious about wanting to consider this, go to a CI hospital to get tested and evaluated. There tends to be some negativism among some hearing healthcare professionals about CIs working for older people. My CI was done in the ear that had gone unaided since diagnosis in the 1960s until I had the surgery in 2005. I had heard nothing in that ear for decades. Now it's my 'good ear'. There are 4 people in our HLAA chapter here who had CI surgery in their mid 80s. They are all doing very well. A lot does depend on a person's health status and willingness to work with the new way of hearing. I was one of the lucky ones who didn't have to work that hard at rehab. Perhaps because an HLAA friend I had great respect for told me to rehab that unaided ear prior to surgery. I had an old back up hearing aid with a strong telecoil that I had fit to that poorer ear and listened to audiobooks via telecoil for a year prior to having surgery. It worked for me. No wonder I'm such a strong believer in telecoils! Without the telecoils that hearing aid did nothing for that ear prior to CI surgery.

Jump to this post

@julieo4

I had forgotten that my ENT practice has a Cochlear Clinic about 50 minutes from me. The doctor that does the implants for the practice and for patients from different audiologist practices has done over 200 implants since he started in 2014. He graduated first in class from Texas Health….and has an amazing reputation. Works with an Audi who is a CI specialist. Other than that, there is a Communications dept at the very huge University of Florida that is very big ….almost an hour from me. I like the idea of a smaller operation as
USF can be daunting. Went there about 20 years ago to see an ENT and saw his associate PA instead. At the time I was not impressed. They have 3 or 4 doctors and do a lot of implants on children.

My practice sounds more comfortable and personal and the hospitals are known to me.

Do you think having done over 200 so far sounds good?

You got me going ya know….in the new year.

FL Mary

REPLY

Holiday family/friend gatherings are tough. I know I miss a lot, but still work to hear what I can. I ‘try’ not let let it make me introverted, ie just sit there and look interested in what’s being said and really not caring, because I can’t hear much. I keep trying & my DH is so good at filling me in on what’s being said. At the gathering, I was trying to hear a young friend tell me about his college goals & how he was doing. My ears / hearing aids were I think on overload from the mouse & my brain was buzzing trying to hear and understand what he was saying with all the background noise going on. I finally suggested we go into the living room but by that time my listening fatigue had set it, so I still struggled in the Semi-quiet area. Listening fatigue is exhausting and hearing ppl try & be supportive 😇 but really do not understand the extent of it. When we hear speech we have to process what we think heard, put it in context of the conversation, process again to confirm that is correct and then answer or speak. It is longer than a hearing person and seems like a long time to us. I sometimes think the other person thinks I’m stupid. I’m so very thankful for my hearing aids but frustrating at time. Thank you for posting.

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I'm reading with interest the comments on the CIs. I, too, am teetering on the edge of going down the CI route. But I have a lot to lose if I do. My hearing is mild to moderate at low frequencies (500 up to 1,000 hz) and profound above that. What that means is that I can hear noise pretty well but can't understand speech.

I'm told that I'm a candidate for a hybrid CI which uses a hearing aid in conjunction with an implant in the same ear. The hearing aid covers the low frequencies and the implant covers the high frequencies. However there is no guarantee that my low frequency hearing will be preserved in the low frequencies with implantation. In other words I could go backwards.

With regard to the large noisy gatherings during the holidays I have the usual problems. I don't get to add much to any conversation because by the time my brain figures out what someone said and I want to add a comment someone else has already done that and the conversation moves on without me. Frustrating!!!!

On Thanksgiving evening we had a visit with my granddaughter and her boyfriend in our living room. The boyfriend has a noticeable hearing loss and I think my granddaughter has some hearing loss as well. The conversations that night were in a quiet environment and at a slow pace. We could all participate. That just doesn't happen when hearing people are present.

But at our upcoming Christmas dinner there will be about 20 people at a long table. That means at least 4 or 5 conversations going on at the same time along with dishes and glasses clanking while people talking with mouths full of food. That's pretty much an impossible listening environment for me. Usually the best I can do is read the lips of the person across from me if it isn't covered with a glass or hand covering the mouth while catching some of the words (and a few correctly). I'll be in a crossfire of speech from both sides and way behind in auditory processing. It will be so relaxing to get in the car to drive home and just listen to the road noise (which I can hear very well).

REPLY

Thank you Julie for the comments about the difficulty of feeling left out during the holidays when your hearing is not adequate. My hearing deteriorates when I'm stressed and this summer when my brother was dying it was particularly difficult for me. I wanted so much to be with him and others in the family but was exhausted and upset by everything including my poor hearing. My daughter suggested an affirmation to keep me grounded.
It was: "Today my hearing is bad but I'm totally fine with it. It won't get me down, I'll miss stuff but I'll still be present in other ways"
This was helpful and led me to write my own affirmation which was even more true to me and got me through.
"I am not invisible because I can't hear. I have intelligence and humour. I am caring and I pay attention. I am fully present. "
Try it yourself when you're feeling overwhelmed by hearing loss. It's amazing how much it helped me.

REPLY
@smallisland

Thank you Julie for the comments about the difficulty of feeling left out during the holidays when your hearing is not adequate. My hearing deteriorates when I'm stressed and this summer when my brother was dying it was particularly difficult for me. I wanted so much to be with him and others in the family but was exhausted and upset by everything including my poor hearing. My daughter suggested an affirmation to keep me grounded.
It was: "Today my hearing is bad but I'm totally fine with it. It won't get me down, I'll miss stuff but I'll still be present in other ways"
This was helpful and led me to write my own affirmation which was even more true to me and got me through.
"I am not invisible because I can't hear. I have intelligence and humour. I am caring and I pay attention. I am fully present. "
Try it yourself when you're feeling overwhelmed by hearing loss. It's amazing how much it helped me.

Jump to this post

Love the affirmation concept! It does help to have faith in your own capability in spite of the hearing issue. Perhaps the most difficult piece is that most other people do not quite understand what's going on with us…even when we try to explain. So sorry to hear about your brother. Stress over things we cannot control definitely adds to our inability to concentrate.

Positive thinking is so helpful.

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