When listening can be exhausting…..


[ Image: A woman who is wearing a short-sleeves purple shirt, covering her face with her hands near a computer.]
[ Image: A woman who is wearing a short-sleeves purple shirt, covering her face with her hands near a computer.]
Hello, everyone!

After a long hiatus, I have moved to a new blog on WordPress and renaming  the blog from “Empower The Talent” to “ Redefining Trails”. I decided to make this change because I felt that this is be needed and I wanted to start new again. I will be eventually closing my other blog on Blogger.It was a nice run on Blogger, but it was time for me to move to a better place.

Onward, I would like to get into a discussion about “Concentration Fatigue”. You may ask, “ What is Concentration Fatigue?”

The definition of Concentration Fatigue is:

“ caused by heavy amounts of concentration required during normal day-to-day activities.It usually kicks in when deaf people have to lip-read, sign or listen to somebody for a long period of time.”

Let’s imagine that you have a deaf/Deaf/HOH co-worker. Your department does back to back meetings on a daily basis. Now typically, a workday is 8 hours in a  day where everyone gets very tired at the end of the day. However, for someone that is deaf/Deaf/HOH can be very exhausting! Imagine having to listen to meetings, networking with other professionals, and using phone on the job. Being a deaf/Deaf/HOH professional is not an easy task! But somehow, we still get our work done well!

It is good to be aware of this issue as a hearing co-worker or employer. To a D/deaf and HOH employee, hearing is a lot of work and takes a lot to learn how to manage concentration fatigue. However, there are things that employers can do to help minimize concentration fatigue.

Tips to help workers with D/deaf/HOH workers to minimize Concentration Fatigue:

  • Offer accommodations. Many accommodations are available to assist D/deaf and HOH workers understand communication effectively.
  • Make the environment deaf friendly. Face them when talking, be mindful of lighting conditions, avoid noisy areas, and etc.
  • Try not to take it too personally if the person isn’t talking too much. They may be very tired from a long day of listening from working.

In addition, there are tips for D/deaf and HOH employees in reducing chances of Concentration Fatigue:

  • Try taking breaks between the down times throughout the day.
  • Change your environment: Avoiding noisy areas, use visual information such as captioning and pictures, and communicate with people using assistive technology.
  • It can help to change positions when you are talking to someone. For example, try suggesting to sit in a round table when it comes to group conversations. That way you can see everyone’s faces to lip read better.

Concentration Fatigue can be a problem for D/deaf and HOH professionals in the workplace. It can hurt a D/deaf and HOH employee’s productivity if it is left unchecked. However, if everyone can have an open conversation on how to minimize Concentration Fatigue. It would be a good start on creating a deaf-friendly and aware workplace in an organization.




10 thoughts on “When listening can be exhausting…..

  1. I will admit being able to handle concentration fatigue, was a result of knowing about physical fatigue.
    As a power lifter, I know when you push your muscles, the next day they are sore. You need time to let them recoup. This is the same with your mind and concentration, you overwork it, do something different it taxes it, it needs time to relax and rebuilt it.
    Thanks for sharing.


  2. I taught a couple of deaf students in my days as a teacher, but they always had an interpreter with them. Like others who have chimed in on this thread, I never really gave much thought to how much concentration would be required to say engaged when one sense is not on par with all the others we take for granted.


  3. Informative post. My mother suffers from hearing problems. Although she is not deaf, but she needs to use hearing aid whenever she is with other people. All your points hold good enough to support individuals with hearing issues. Along with that, it is also important for people to show more patience when they are around a deaf person. Our patience will give them a lot of confidence when they try to interact. Making fun of their unfortunate shortcomings (which we do sometimes) is not at all acceptable.


  4. I’ve never thought about how exhausting it must be to be deaf or HOH and have to concentrate so hard just to be able to understand important information in the environment. However, in thinking about it, I flashed back to an experience that gave me a taste of intense concentration for 10 hours a day. I participated in an English immersion program in Spain where 15 native English speakers worked with 15 Spaniards who were wanting to improve their proficiency in English.
    We were sent off to a 4 star hotel in the countryside for 6 days which was lovely. We had one on one sessions all day and at meals, there had to be 2 English speakers and 2 Spaniards at a table, so we had to concentrate even during our down time. The Spaniards were fascinating, lovely people, but were often difficult to understand. I also concentrated hard to try to speak English in a way that would be natural, but easy for them to understand—i.e. don’t use excessive idioms. I never slept so well in my life (I”m a bad sleeper). My brain was simply exhausted at the end of each day.


  5. Janelle – I have never given this much thought. It must be challenging and wearing for a person hard of hearing to engage all day. You have given excellent tips on how employers can make their working life more comfortable.


  6. This is a very interesting post. I have never worked with someone who is deaf and while I was actually partially deaf when I was younger and had to have surgery in my right ear, I never really experienced what it will be like to lose my hearing and conduct day-to-day activities that people with their full hearing do with much more ease. Thanks for educating us on concentration fatigue and how to better accommodate to those who may experience it.


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