Not Being Able To Hear Properly Is A Major Cause Of Stress
Recently, we’ve seen an abundance of researchers conducting “aging-simulation” experiments. The idea here is to give healthy young people a sense of what it’s like to get older. Participants have to do all sorts of strange things like wear glasses that blur their vision and headphones that make all incoming noises sound muffled. Fundamentally, it’s an educational activity designed to improve empathy so that they can understand the troubles that older people experience.
What’s interesting is just how awful people find it. Going from having high-fidelity senses to ones that don’t work correctly is a wrenching change. Most people start hating the experience after just a few minutes. It feels like their head is stuck in a barrel.
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Not being able to hear is a stressful experience. But just how stressful it is doesn’t become apparent until you actually lose the ability to detect the noises around you.
Socially, hearing loss becomes a problem quickly. People with the condition find themselves having to continually ask friends and family to repeat what they’ve said, creating frustration. They also find that they have to concentrate intently on the noises they can detect and fill in the blanks. This eventually leads to cognitive overload, reducing the overall enjoyment of the experience.
Losing hearing is stressful for another reason: it makes it challenging to detect dangers in the environment. People with normal hearing can detect the sound of an oncoming vehicle or siren. But those who can’t hear might not be able to pick up these noises until the last minute. And, again, that creates anxiety. You never know whether you’re in a dangerous situation or not.
Fortunately, there are solutions to hearing loss and ways you can make it more manageable. If you suspect you’re hard of hearing, the first thing to do is go for a hearing test. Audiologists can investigate your hearing directly and tell you unequivocally whether you have a problem.
You can also connect hearing aid apps to your devices, providing you with relevant information and allowing you to adjust settings from your phone. The idea here is to make using hearing aids more practical in everyday life, bringing them into line with the user-friendliness of other devices.
Stress from hearing loss is almost entirely avoidable. Unless you have profound hearing loss where you can barely hear anything at all, modern interventions can help. Hearing aids don’t just amplify sounds so that you can listen to them - they also train the brain to better detect noises in the first place. It’s a bit like an exercise machine, training the biological systems to give you a more lucid conscious experience of the world.
Explaining to people around you what it’s like to live with hearing loss can also help alleviate stress in social interactions. Speaking to somebody who is hard of hearing can be a frustrating experience. Having a frank conversation about your limitations can assist people in helping you reduce your stress levels long-term. You can use it to grease the wheels.
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