Taking time out
When we lose our hearing, other senses and skills have to take over to compensate. Realising that we can no longer just listen or overhear effortlessly is a shock.
Instead of just relying on hearing to interpret speech and react appropriately, all available visual and acoustic clues have to be used as well.
The added concentration and energy necessary needed to follow a conversation can leave us feeling extremely tired.
Scientists have discovered that different areas of the brain are responsible for certain types of mental activity. For example, Broca’s Area is responsible for speech production; Wernike’s Area is responsible for speech comprehension; the Temporal Lobe looks after the hearing while the sight is located in the Occipital Lobe.
We use several areas of the brain during a simple conversation, but a hard of hearing person has to think, concentrate and work much harder than a hearing person. We have to hear and to lipread and to correct what we have heard and seen.
So if you find that after an enjoyable conversation with the family or an outing to the cinema with friends you feel completely washed out and longing for some personal space to gather yourself together and recharge your batteries – do not be surprised!
Communicating is exhausting so take time out for yourself to decrease stress and alleviate anxieties – both of which make listening and lipreading so much more difficult.
Relax and unwind …
- Have frequent eye breaks. Refocus your eyes by looking at a different object
- Give yourself permission to stop paying attention – switch off your hearing aids
- Determine how much time you need to take a break in every day and try and stick to it
- Create your own space – sewing room, study, garden shed, the corner of the living room
- Have your own favourite things there – plant, photograph, ornament
- Encourage others to respect your space
- Take withdrawal breaks during the day – a walk at lunch time, reading on the bus on the way home
- Limit interruptions – turn off your mobile telephone
- Plan a regular lunch date with a friend
- Try to be on your own at some point every day
- Have a five minute nap like Winston Churchill