What is listening fatigue? Fatigue in general refers to a “weariness” resulting from exertion. In many children who are Deaf and/or hard of hearing (D/HH), listening fatigue occurs due to their need for increased concentration and attention. In many situations, children who are D/HH often have to work harder and pay closer attention than their peers to listen and access information, leaving fewer cognitive resources (Hornsby et al, 2017).
Researchers who examined the question of fatigue in children with hearing loss found that students subjectively report a greater level of fatigue than those with typical hearing (Davis et al, 2021). In another study children who were D/HH expended more effort on listening tasks than their hearing peers. The increased and sustained listening effort required by children in their school settings put them at risk for stress, tension, and fatigue.
Recently, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center Listening and Learning Lab and the Hearing and communication Lab created and published the Vanderbilt Fatigue Scales (VFS) for assessing both children and adults who are DHH (Vanderbilt University, 2022). The scales are recommended for any child who is D/HH, even if they do not appear to be struggling in the educational setting.
For more information on Vanderbilt’s research on listening fatigue, the interested reader is directed to the September/October 2022 issue of Audiology Today.
Vanderbilt University. (2022) Vanderbilt Fatigue Scales. (Accessed September 14, 2022).
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