I know only a few professionals with hearing loss (outside my company at least), but each of them is remarkable and hold high-ranking positions that require constant energy, attention, listening and understanding.
I’m in the same position. My job requires daily meetings, national and international phone calls, live conversations with customers and patients, ongoing focus and concentration and an endless supply of both physical and emotional energy. When I don’t wear my hearing aids at the office, I am exhausted by two in the afternoon and if you see me at the gym later that night, don’t even think about talking to me. I am done talking. Done listening. Gym time is QUIET time. Because at that point, I am so tired of trying to listen, I just can’t anymore. Beware the hearing aid-less gym mode, it’s really scary. Just ask my boyfriend.
My hearing aids help alleviate some of this energy and emotional drain, but at 25-years-old, I still sometimes feel as though I need a permanent caffeine IV inserted into my arm.
So when I read an article about another inspiring professional with hearing loss in Elite Daily yesterday, it made me really stop and think about how us hard-of-hearing professionals tackle the work week without taking a kindergarten nap by 3pm. Because trust me, sometimes you want it.
Below are 5 tips I use to tackle my ear-induced energy drain during the week. Feel free to share your own in the comment section too or on my Facebook page.
- Early morning walks. It may not seem like much, but getting up for even just a 30 minute walk with my dog before work helps get my body running and jumpstarts my energy quota for the day. I don’t wear my hearing aids on this walk because it’s all about relaxing, enjoying nature and waking my body up for a full day ahead.
- Change where you work. I write all day, but my hearing aids are constantly picking up on conversations all around me. Even though I’m not trying to listen, I can’t help it, and this can wear me out somedays. My solution? I try to find one or two hours to work somewhere other than my desk, whether it’s on the outside patio by the cafeteria or in the quiet post-lunch cafe by the fireplace. Changing the exposure to sounds yo hear can help give your ears a break.
- Mid-day walk. This so does NOT happen here in Minnesota when it’s winter or raining, or I wear heels. But on the days it’s nice and I have walkable shoes on, a quick 15 minute walk around the company campus wakes me up, gives me a break from the noisy, busy office environment and helps me let go of any stress of negative emotions I may have built up during the morning.
- Tea or Coffee. I’m not advocating for becoming a caffeine crazy fiend, but everyday I have about one or two 80z cups of steaming hot green tea with a little honey in it. Not only does it make me feel happy and warm (Texans don’t do well in Minnesota weather), but a little green tea lifts my energy, gives me a metabolism boost and also satisfies any sugar cravings I may be having that day. If you’re a coffee person, opt for coffee instead. We’re adults, we can’t live without some sort of energy-infusing drink during the work week. That’s the simple truth. For those people who can, props to you, you supernatural weirdos.
- Play some tunes. When you have hearing loss, you often lose the ability to enjoy music. With my hearing aids, I can directly stream music to them from my phone and listen to it at a volume that’s safe and comfortable for me without bothering anyone else. And thus my final tip for getting through the work week, put a couple songs on that make you want to dance and let their peppy beats thrum through your body. It may sound cheessy and lame, but trust me, a couple songs from Ke$ha or Florida Georgia Line and I’m ready to get back to work with the energy of an Olympic 400m sprinter.
Working with hearing loss is hard, ok, it really is. And hearing aids help, but they can’t do everything on their own. They aren’t magic, they are simply an aid. We have a disability, that’s a fact. But if you embrace it, accept it and then figure out how to work with and around it, well nothing can really stop you can it?