Most people who’re severely to profoundly deaf (even with digital hearing-devices) will mention recurring exhaustion from “actively listening” all the time to communicate, to receive and remember daily facts, and to process at warp-speed detail that’s fed to you – in its incompleteness or entirety.
A multi-choice survey on the “Hearing Ourselves Think” blog by psychologist Katharine Cecilia Williams, has some brilliant questions on this same topic.
For this respondent, the single answer to these questions is “All The Above”. Read the text below the survey-box to get further insights to the challenges.
Listening Fatigue Exists And Is Real
This real “concentration fatigue” is described by UK-based Ian Noon, as being like “doing jigsaws, Sudokhu and Scrabble all at the same time”.
For children and teens learning in mainstream classrooms, this fatigue is very real – and the frustration can emerge at the end of a school day when they get home. Some take off their hearing devices for a break after school – while others zone out in a quiet part of the house, or in their bedrooms simply to recharge their own energy.
Self-Pacing Personal Energy Is Crucial
In the later teens and college years, before moving to workplaces, students with hearing issues need to self-pace to find their point of discomfort, and to learn to know when they need time out, whether this is a 20 minute break, a night in, a day’s annual leave, a long weekend or bigger stretch of time off.
Parents, educators and employers should be aware that this concentration fatigue exists and is not an excuse for a person to shirk their duties, to miss deadlines or to perform below their threshold in a work role. Quite simply, their brains can temporarily be so fatigued that clear thinking and communication is not viable.
There’s irony in a deaf person needing ‘quiet time’ to recharge – but it’s vital.
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