Do you hear better in the morning? I think I do. Perhaps it is because everything is quieter in the morning so there is less background noise, or that everyone is rested so they speak more clearly. It sometimes amazes me if I turn the TV on in the morning, how loud the volume is set from the night before. I wonder if my hearing actually improved overnight. But that is not likely to be the case. I am simply more alert after a full night’s sleep.
My mother-in-law tells me the same thing about her brother. He lost much of his hearing in a construction accident many years ago and has worn hearing aids ever since. If his wife needs to talk to him about something important, she always does it in the morning when his hearing seems to be at its best — even before he puts in his hearing aids.
This made me wonder, is there something scientific to this? A quick Google search did not uncover anything definitive. In fact, there were as many articles talking about why we hear better at night as there were talking about why we hear better in the morning.
I think it comes down to hearing loss exhaustion. As the day progresses, someone with hearing loss has to work much harder to make sense of the noises around them. Which sounds are words? What are these words? I heard them say “–ay,” but did that mean say, bay or ray? The mental gymnastics that we go through each day take a toll on the brain, and make us weary. This weariness makes it tougher to concentrate, and therefore, harder to “hear.”
The truth is that we are hearing equally well (or poorly!) at all times of the day, but we are understanding better in the morning, when our brains are fresher. Perhaps the term “hearing loss” is a misnomer and we should be calling it “understanding loss” instead. I know for myself, I can often hear the sounds around me, I just don’t understand what they are or what they mean. Unfortunately, that is the most important part.
Armed with this awareness, here are my tips for taking advantage of this “better hearing in the morning” phenomenon.
1. Schedule important meetings and doctor appointments for earlier in the day. You want to be at your best when critical information is being conveyed. Bring paper and pen to take notes, which can help you stay focused.
2. Set aside time to rest before important events later in the day. Simply sitting in a quiet room with your eyes closed could provide the recharge that you need. This is particularly important ahead of cocktail parties and other evening events where communication is already set up to be difficult.
3. Take breaks when you need them. Even short 5 to 10 minute breaks give your brain the opportunity to rest. Head to the restroom or take a short walk around the block or find a spot in another room to sit quietly. Keeping your stamina up will help you participate more fully and enjoy yourself more.
Readers, do you hear better in the morning?