I Can’t Hear You – I’m Too Tired!

What’s another word for tired, pooped, exhausted, or weary? Because whatever that word is, that’s what I am today.

Today I can’t hear as well as I could yesterday. I can hear the birds just fine, but understanding speech or conversations is, temporarily, a lost art. Luckily, the only one around is the Hearing Husband and he’s not interested in any lengthy discussions, either.

It’s been a busy, exciting and creative few weeks that included launching a book, family events, and a stage performance about hearing loss. All great stuff, but involving the expenditure of a great deal of both mental and physical energy. The energy well is dry.   

Only a few things have the power to drive my hearing and comprehension levels down through the floor: active stress or nerves, the presence of extreme background noise – although I consider almost any background noise extreme – and fatigue, whether mental or physical. This is common with hard of hearing people.

People with good natural hearing may not understand how much energy it takes for people like me to listen, hear and communicate. For us, it takes focus, commitment and energy – a lot of it – to put together all the moving bits of speech and conversations into something that makes sense. So, at times like these, conversations that require me to look people in the eye, speechread them, think about what they are saying (or not saying) and respond accordingly, are challenges that I don’t feel like rising to meet. I can be easily  distracted and tune out, meaning that many of the other guy’s words go missing. Oh, sorry…did you just say something?

I’m not writing this to whine or complain – but simply to explain. This is how it is for people with hearing loss, sometimes. Sometimes it’s all just too much.

This fatigue and cognitive overload will drive us to the couch with a blankie and a book or iPad – and we’ll stay there until we’re ready to get up and cope – and that just might be tomorrow. We will cancel plans that involve any energy and real people. TV or Netflix people are acceptable; we can use the captions to reduce our cognitive load and we can press mute if the sound becomes too much. We can even hit pause, stop, or fall asleep.

It’s tough to adequately explain this to the hearing people in our lives. Maybe this short article will help. Bear with us, thank you, we love you.

(Ps: The energy well will be full again tomorrow!)

About Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a writer, speaker and advocate on hearing loss issues. In addition to her weekly blog for HearingHealthMatters.org, which has an international following, Gael wrote the acclaimed book "The Way I Hear It: A Life with Hearing Loss". She is regularly invited to present her uniquely humorous and insightful work to appreciative audiences around the world. Gael has received many awards for her work, which includes advocacy for a more inclusive society for people with hearing loss. She lives with her husband on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

20 Comments

  1. So true but unfortunately I believe audiologist should themselves be hearing deprived in order for them to prescribe adequate hearing devices .
    I am so looking forward to some kind of medical treatment other than hearing aids . I’ve been using hearing aids for 12 years at an approximate cost of 12,000 $ with nothing but frustration. The audiologist I see are always selling the latest technology somewhat like a used car salesman .
    Yes I am angry !

    1. Louise, I understand your frustration. Do you know someone who can recommend a different audiologist? Medical solutions to hearing loss are a long way off, but we live in hope.

    2. I absolutely agree with you. I have had audiologists speak from behind me with my hearing aids in their hand. I simply leave and look for another audiologist. Some are fabulous. I have moved on to a cochlear implant now.

  2. Me identifico también con esta explicación, cuando estoy en un lugar ruidoso tratando de entender a la gente, termino exhausta y no quiero escuchar nada!! me desconecto leyendo o viendo una película o serie en Netflix con bajo volumen.

  3. I am totally blind, about to get activated with my second cochlear implant. Particularly living with one ear of these three weeks, my first cochlear ear, I have totally felt this article and lived it. Thank you for putting this so eloquently. You are my hero!

  4. Yes, thanks to you for putting this out, it is so true. Some people (with good hearing ) get it but most don’t understand.
    It is so hard to feel accepted when conversations that i once was a part of are diminished. This is an adjustment i am trying to cope with.

    1. Stephen, it’s hard to adequately explain our challenges. May I suggest looking up my recent book (with Shari Eberts) on living more successfully with hearing loss.

  5. I too am thankful for this article and appreciate and appreciate the read this goes to watching television also because everyone talks so fast that the words just run together and makes one very anxious. The phrase most often used in our household is what did they say? Or what did you say

    1. It’s always a challenge to get the people in our lives to speak in a way that works for us. A good sit-down at the table for some serious discussion might help. Use my articles or books as a reference guide.

  6. Gael, you have a wonderful way of describing the nitty gritty of hearing loss in a light humorous loving way without bitterness or rancor. You are truly a gift to all of us. Thank you.

  7. Yes! Yes ! Yes! Thank you for
    explaining this. It happens to me
    daily. I keep trying to tell people
    This. I have not connected it with hearing
    Loss. But NOW I GET IT.,!!

    THANK YOU SO MUCH

    1. Thank you! I’m so delighted that this was helpful! Do check out my recent book for other strategies.

  8. I went to grandsons spring concert last night. All the noise, commotion and people left me exhausted when I got home. I LOVED being there but when you a very hard of hearing and 75 yo, there is a price.

  9. Thank you so much for this short explanation that I totally relate to! I have a large family(14 grandkids) and when we get together there are times where I need some quiet time to decompress! All of your comments in regards to background noise are so true. I laughed when I read that there are times when you turn the volume off on the TV and just use CC! I love my Bluetooth hearing aids because there are times I will just play river stream sound. Really appreciate this article and have a great day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.