Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Okay To Feel Worn Out

Lately I've been trying to give myself more permission to just be worn out. Tired of listening and trying to hear and figure out what's being said or what I'm missing.

It's only recently that I've begun to recognize that I work harder than other people in conversation. You would think it would be a given, but I really didn't think much about my deafness until I began writing this blog and thinking about how it affects me. Before I would just keep trying and blame it on other things, especially at school. I didn't have much self-awareness.

With that self-awareness, though, has come a secondary awareness of how tired listening makes me. For example, on the news channel I watch in the mornings, anything scripted is closed captioned but the banter between the various newscasters is not. I used to just try to listen to them, and feel annoyed when I couldn't hear them (not that any of it is ever vitally important). Now I just get annoyed that it isn't captioned, and ignore them or even change the channel.

I can tell it is starting to affect my mindset in other areas as well. At work when I have been trying to understand vague, mumbling people for hours at a time. At a store when I am trying to listen to someone talk to me and the intercom keeps blaring, equipment keeps driving by (especially hardware stores) or everything echoes. It is hard not to feel irritated.

I have been trying to become more accepting of it without the irritation. Trying to come up with ways to get people to talk to me clearly and not from 10 feet away or incredibly quiet. I am trying to accept that I won't be able to hear everything, that some stuff doesn't need to be heard and that it's going to wear me out sometimes.

Sometimes I can feel I haven't succeeded in the whole "acceptance" thing. I feel myself getting irritated with the library patron who can't hear a thing I'm saying either so we're both yelling at each other and not getting anywhere. I feel irritated at the intercom at the grocery store, the car driving by, the kids shouting in the parking lot when I try to go to my car. Sometimes I get home to total silence and just feel totally invigorated. Who needs noise?

How do you feel about noise and silence? Do you have any tips for dealing with this sort of thing - without getting irritated?


  1. Stay strong Megan.. My wife has been noticing she too is starting to feel the same way. Even after working 4 years at the same place she still runs into problems with people being frustrated that she cannot hear them or understand them.

    She just recently started school again and is already frustrated that her professor is not understanding as well to the point that she is ready to drop school again.

    As for the newscasters yes that is irratating that not everything is in the CC. In fact yesterday we noticed that none of our local newscast had any CC at all but the televisions shows were. I just posted on their facebook page asking them what the deal was. They had this issue once before but it also affected the television shows where most of our favorite shows had no CC for nearly two weeks. All because of some transmitter had broken or something to that effect.

  2. How well you express this. It is the same with me. I just "resigned" from one of my volunteer places because it was really getting hard in the environment of high levels of just..noise. Even the Captain of the ministry I was working with was sensitive enough to see how it was affecting me. She was very understanding of the difficulty I was having. My eyes are sometimes so tired at the end of the day, I don't even attempt to watch much tv to read the captions. At this age, not just hearing goes, but the vision starts to go as well.
    So, like you, recognizing these things, or being "self aware" is really a good thing. I found that listening to my body and making adjustments helps immensely. I take naps, tune out, take the hearing aids out and rest the ears and spend time in solitude more. For some, they would say this is unhealthy, however the alternative is far more unhealthy in our circumstances in the end. I find much satisfaction with modern technology, communicating via txt and internet more than face to face. That is what helps me. Oh, one more thing, I did take up a Women's Only Self Defense class that is helping me become more "situational aware" and with that, it is helping me become more self aware with what I can handle, and it also has opened other things up to me, like reading body language of others and becoming more aware of myself physically. I cannot tell you how great the instructors are in these classes. They are small groups, and it's mostly visual, and what I don't hear, they make sure I see what I need to know and learn. These are just a few benefits from the class. The biggest benefit from the class over all else is that it has given me back a lot of self confidence I lost over the years with my hearing loss. I can't say enough about a class like this. It is taught by Marines, Law Enforcement Officers and Phyiscal Trainers who are right there with you.

  3. I think this is the area born-deaf do better than we do, they know they can't hear so the issue of following is secondary. I know more and more of us are resorting to technology to avoid the hassle, but not sure that is the way to go even if it makes things easier, but I suppose it's avoiding stress.

    The point is how FAR do you go to avoid the stress ? to total isolation ? or near as ? catch 22. Time out OK, but stress is life..... we have to be in it to win it.

  4. I discovered the restorative value of down time last fall when I was traveling overseas and the difficulties of listening and hearing multiplied. I spent many afternoons sitting, drinking tea, sketching, and not talking or listening to anyone. It helped.

  5. Oh wow, I so could've written that myself. I've been feeling that a lot lately. I've had hearing loss since birth, but only recently realised how hard I have to work at things that others do without thinking.
    My collegues assume that hearing aids make my hearing 'perfect' and really don't get just how hard I have to concentrate to hear someone on the end of a phone in a noisy office, or why sometimes I just can't answer the phone at all. At the end of the day, I am wiped.

    At the end of a particularly busy work day, I'll take my aids out - when I have them in I feel I have to listen to everything, but without them I feel I have an excuse not too. It's so refreshing sometimes just to sink into a muted world.


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