Holiday Auditory Exhaustion Syndrome is Here!
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.
Years ago, I bought a T shirt at Kohls that was embossed with "I Smile Because I Have No Idea What's Going On!" I wore it at a national HLAA convention. Had I had multiple copies to sell I could have made a fortune!
Those of us who manage our hearing loss fairly well do tend to smile rather than frown. Do you agree?
@sequoia You nailed it! This is exactly how most people who have severe hearing loss feel in large gatherings. Attitude makes a difference though. Sounds like you have an A+ there!
People often get the impression that we are either not paying attention or that we are a bit daft or stupid. We sense that and the stress keeps adding up. It takes us time to digest what we are hearing, then to ponder whether or not we heard it correctly, and then to decide whether or not to respond. Sometimes we get it wrong, and our response makes us look really, really bad. We have used examples of those kinds of misunderstandings in 'role play exercises' at HLAA chapter meetings. Sometimes we have to laugh at ourselves too.
Did you know that a person with hearing loss often takes up to 5 seconds to respond to a simple yes or no question?
I suspect that surgeon is qualified. If you go there, ask to meet others who have had CIs done there. Happy New Year!!
Absolutely agree and I have always said, when you have to explain your hearing loss, do it with a smile.
People respond to smiles. I think We smile a lot in large noisy group gatherings…sort of an expectant smile because fun things are obviously going on and we hope someone lets us know what. Then there’s that bemused smile. Your day will go the way the corners of your mouth turn……Winston Churchill.
@julieo4 I did not know about taking up to 5 seconds to respond – Wow. I've been thinking about HLAA. I think I would like to learn more about the organization. I will research and see what is around my neck of the woods. OBTW, I think "daft" is a better description than stupid but they both work hahaha and also, I've had plenty of misunderstandings that are quite funny. You have to have a sense of humor in all of this. Good day!
HLAA is a wonderful organization and resource. Feel free to send me a personal message if you're uncomfortable sharing where you live via the forum. There are chapters all over the country. The national organization's website is http://www.hearingloss.org Well worth supporting.
@julieo4 I’m in Idaho. No chapters or in Eastern WA. That’s ok as I would/will join for the info. I’ll checkout their information on the webpage. I research HL a bit and try and keep informed. I like to talk w/ folks & help them see the importance of hearing aids. I get aggravated & frustrated that HA are so expensive for seniors. We have welfare for ppl that done just don’t want to work but our seniors worked all their lives and some can’t get help w/ HAs. Shame on Medicare. Sorry, I stepped up on the soapbox. 🤷♀️🥰
Thank you so much, Sequoia, for putting into words the experience of listening fatigue. I know it so well, but I had never explicitly described it even to myself. It’s this kind of fatigue, I’m very afraid, that helps to forge the link between hearing loss and dementia. The kinds of experiences you describe, which have become increasingly common in my own life, can pave the way for those of us suffering from hearing loss to conclude that withdrawing is better for us as well as for those whose patience can grow thin with our inability to “keep up.”
No soapbox needed. This Medicare/Insurance issue is one that has been in the craw of HLAA and the entire hard of hearing population for decades. It's pretty obvious that the insurance companies have bever been willing to include hearing aids in their policies. Why is that? Is this about trust? Does it have something to do with the false advertising that has been out there for years referring to hearing aids as 'miracles'? We all know they don't cure hearing loss. When fit properly they help people hear better.
I've often asked if hearing instruments are medical devices or consumer products. Right now, with the Over the Counter (OTC) law having been enacted, it's pretty clear that those OTC devices that do not require a prescription are consumer products just like cell phones, headsets, etc.
Sorry there are no HLAA chapters in your area. Chapters happen when a group of people with hearing loss come together to share experiences and reach out to others. There's a ton of information on the HLAA website. Due to recent COVID protocols many chapters are holding hybrid meetings that allow people from outside the chapter's region to attend and participate. I encourage you to take time to listen to some of the podcasts on the website. http://www.hearingloss.org
When you say they think we are daft or stupid, do they actually say that to you or is that just what you are thinking? I always struggle in group situations, but no one has ever told me I am stupid or anything since I can't understand. I do know I feel self conscious about not being able to hear and sometime think people are either getting frustrated with me. I do know a lot of times I end up zoning out because I just can't keep up and my brain "shuts down". Thankfully with family I am usually pretty at ease and don't worry so much and if I have questions about what was being talked about, my hubby is pretty good with filling me in. The hardest though are when we have our work lunches with my department. We work from home, so the only time i get together with them is a few times a year at these lunches. We have a bowling/lunch holiday get together coming up and I am happy to see them but worried about what I will miss.