They say ‘speaking is easy, listening is difficult’. So imagine listening to people talk for 10 hours a day, every day. Imagine the words you’re listening to come from people with different accents.
They are full of regional and international flourishes of speech, and strange idiosyncratic speech patterns that take a while to work out. Now imagine your job is to transcribe exactly what was said. Not just the general meaning or thrust. Every single word needs to be as it was spoken. Now imagine you have to listen to the words at full volume. By the end of the working day, a bit of peace and quiet wouldn’t just be nice. It would be necessary.
Janet is a 34 year old from the East Coast. Her job is to do exactly what you might have imagined a second ago. That is, to transcribe the words spoken by a myriad of people. Based at home, 10 hours every day with headphones on, the sound level at full, had left her exhausted. So much so, she had started to isolate herself from people outside of work. As she said herself, she was ‘just tired of listening’ and had lost her smile.
That wasn’t the only worry though. Janet also knew listening at full volume would do some damage. Or maybe the damage was done already? She was certainly having trouble making out the words being spoken. Recordings were being replayed and work was taking longer.
Everything became a real slog.The issue Janet faced is not an unfamiliar one. Still young, she didn’t think an audiologist would be of any help as they just ‘dispense hearing aids’, and she didn’t think she needed those. She didn’t even think she had a hearing problem.
Exhaustion was the problem and audiologists can’t combat fatigue can they? Well…
Luckily for Janet, she found Tuned. The ability to receive treatment from home, which is also her place of work, made perfect sense and she booked an appointment. She easily completed Tuned’s hearing screener, which is the most validated online hearing screener in the world. All she needed to complete it was a quiet space and her earbuds. The whole thing took less than 10 minutes to complete. Once finished, she had her first video visit with an audiologist to discuss her hearing.
What Janet’s screening told us was this - she was right. Janet didn’t have any hearing disorders present and passed the screener with flying colors. This is where Tuned’s patient centric approach comes into play. We know from experience patients rarely seek help from traditional audiologists, and if they do, they are often dismissed if tests show no issues. At Tuned, we understand the limitations of traditional audiology. We delve into the individual context of a patient's hearing, offering a holistic treatment service that goes beyond traditional services.
What does audiology look like beyond the traditional approach? The headphones Janet was using for work were neither physically or auditorily comfortable. This was causing the volume to be inched higher, which was contributing to the fatigue experienced at the end of the day. Exposure to sounds has a compounding effect and after prolonged periods of listening, it was no surprise Janet wanted to avoid people and social interactions.
Both physically and mentally, she was over listening.
Janet was suffering from listening fatigue. It’s amazingly prevalent in modern society and was accelerated by the pandemic, as people switched to working from home and increased their headphone use.Janet’s Tuned audiologist educated her in techniques for reducing listening fatigue and provide both software and hardware recommendations. The addition of software on Janet’s laptop had an immediate impact, with further improvements expected as use of the software increases and finer adjustments made. At the same time, we were able to recommend headphones for increased comfort and a better auditory fit.Finally, Janet also had a very real fear that her work would result in hearing loss. We were able to provide extensive information and education on hearing loss prevention for work and day-to-day life, giving Janet the confidence to go about her work without fear. Since seeing her Tuned audiologist, Janet has put all of the tools we equipped her with into practice. She is able to enjoy her work again, the education and software making a marked difference. Importantly, by the end of the day there is energy left over. Life is being lived again and friendships are to be enjoyed once more. For this patient the best result is quantifiable by the size of the smile. And Janet’s is back and bigger than ever. Which makes us smile too.