Hearing Fatigue

Has anyone ever experienced hearing fatigue after activation of CI and while trying to adjust to it?

Yes. Not with an implant but when I first got hearing aids. Give it time. Try to be patient. The brain will adjust as will you


It has been 1 1/2 yrs since activation.Very little benefit and I still deal with hearing fatigue. I really did not think that was a real thing.

Well it can be but I would think after that much time you’d be past that. Like I said I don’t know a lot about ci but I have heard that adjustments can go on for a year with therapy involved. It’s certainly something I would discuss with the audiologist.

I remember getting headaches by mid day or evening the first few months after activation.
According to my fitter I was a bit of a junkie for aggressive mappings. I pushed the CI for all I could stand.

After a few months the stress and headaches pretty much backed off during normal days but getting into environments that are loud and confusing will stress me some. Getting into those loud environments gets better and better each time I get into them. Practice…practice.


I can assure you, after almost 35 years of wearing aids (never CI tho), I get hearing-overload fatigue OFTEN! Maybe it’s a day with lots of social activity - BBQ, party, etc., or a long trip to the mall, or just a rambunctious movie, or being in a restaurant with MUSIC playing while I’m trying to read lips.

The brain can only digest and process SO many things at a time. Hearing fatigue is TOTALLY common, and the best way to keep it manageable is to set aside time during the day - maybe just 20 min 2-3 times - when you go in a quiet room or take the aids out and just let yourself decompress.

I know that my cinderblock ears are a HUGE liability during the night when my aids are out, but I THANK GOD every night for being deaf as my bedpost and not having anything but the 24x7 tinnitus to lull me to sleep. :expressionless:


thanks for the insight. I don’t see alot of others talking about hearing fatigue. My Dr. and Audiologist never said anything about this. My CI has had no benefit for my single sided deafness. i am left with tinnitus(that I never had before) headaches numbness and loss of taste. Still can’t tolerate crowds or noise. I can’t tell where sound is coming from.But by far the worst is the fatigue. I’m told just keep wearing the processor.I think I was better of without the CI. I have had single sided deafness for 7yrs, developed suddenly no time to get used to it.

Wow. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost wonder if you have long Covid? I’m no doctor, but your symptoms: fatigue, loss of taste, numbness, headaches are all on the list for the Omicron and BA5 variants.

My 24x7 tinnitus started as a teenager after a bad sinus infection for which I took Coriciden. I’m used to that, as it’s pretty much a single tone in each ear. But I’ve had the HEARING fatigue like forever! It just depends on what noise/level I’ve been exposed to.

The reason why you’ve never heard of this from your doc or audi is cuz THEY DON’T WEAR CI, are likely NOT hearing impaired nor do they have tinnitus. We are the ones who walk the walk cuz we’re living the reality day after day.

Believe me, you’re NOT alone … but as for the covid connection … well, many folks have probably had it and never bothered getting tested if it isn’t really bad. I’d count myself in that category, too, but simply never got a test or found that out. I’ve had some of the symptoms, but if it wasn’t bad enough to make me call a doc, I’ll never know.

In any case, I’ve been masked up and worn a necklace-style air purifier whenever outside ever since April 2020.

Its not Covid. The ear numbness and loss of taste are side effects from CI surgery as well as the tinnitus. It affects the facial nerve which can be damaged from the surgery.I agree with you. The Dr and Audi are not deaf nor do they have a CI. They can not appreciate what patients go through nor do they understand. I wish I knew an audiologist that is a CI user or even a hearing aid. This is why this forum is great. You get to see what others are going through and share you stories and what worked for them.

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Being quite new to this hearing loss thing, I’ve not heard of “hearing fatigue” before. I certainly recognize 1Bluejay’s exact description of “overload”, though! I am extremely introverted (and extremely content to be so), and this is precisely how I feel when I get overly stimulated in crowds, malls, BBQ, party, noisy restaurant, etc. Also the exact same resolution: 20 or 30 minutes by myself in a quiet environment to decompress.

How interesting to hear the crossover of symptoms with hearing fatigue! I wonder if research has ever been done on this?

I don’t think most people discuss hearing fatigue except when they first try aids because they’re just grateful that they can hear. Most people don’t deal with an overwhelming hearing loss so new aids are quickly adjusted to and life goes on. But those with a severe or profound loss who have lived with it for years can feel like they’re trapped in an avalanche and are trying to fight there way to the top before they’re overwhelmed and buried. It takes time. Turn off your implants or aids if you need to. A quiet room can be very relaxing. Trying to force yourself to hearing in a noisy environment only makes the situation worse. I know it’s been a year and my experience hasn’t been with implants. But I know a lot of people that can’t deal with all the noise and give up and their aids end up somewhere in a drawer. Speak to your audiologist. Maybe the implants can be turned down or readjusted so that wearing them is a more pleasant experience. Fatigue from sound defeats the whole purpose.


Yes. You may need to pace yourself in your training. Too much to fast will not be beneficial. Be sure to take lots of breaks, and back down the volume/sensitivity as needed.

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What you say contradicts what my audi told me to do. I was told to wear it at least 12hrs/day Can use the remote to lower sound if necessary but it was important to wear it everyday.I am starting to think that unless the audi and Dr have an implant they really have no clue what is appropriate and this is the reason I have been unsuccessful along with not being offered any kind of auditory rehab and being told to just wear it. I did have numerous mappings the first year but .I saw no benefit . My hearing scores were 17%,18% did go to 44% but dropped down to 7% after another mapping

I think of the rehab as similar to any other rehab. If I had my knee replaced and needed to learn to walk again on an artificial limb, I would want to pace my recovery. Why would this be any different for a CI. Yes you will want to wear it every day, isolate it for best sound, and practice as much as possible. This would be the same as for an artificial limb. But too much rehab becomes counter productive. Each person needs to define what their limits are, but also needs to push through them for best recovery.

I wonder if there has been any studies done on the issue of hearing fatigue prevalence for introverted people vs extroverted. I’ve noticed some mention being introverted when mentioning hearing fatigue.

I totally agree with you!. Also I think that any audi that sees CI patients needs to be trained the same way a physical therapist would be.If a Dr performs this type of surgery he needs to make sure that the audi he works with knows how to teach the patient what do do as far as auditory rehab is concerned and not just do the mappings and hearing tests. I was a nurse for 4 0 yrs and teaching patients was a big part . I would never let a patient go home without the appropriate after care in place and what they needed to do to be successful in their recovery. It seems that the Dr does his implant surgery and turns you over to the audi to do the rest.If a patient scores are lacking in progress that should be a red flag to the Dr that perhaps the patient/audi needs further education and be part of it with a definite plan in place. (this should be done prior to implant surgery.) All I ever got was see you in a yr for a checkup. I don’t even know if he knows my horrible scores. The audi says he does. That makes it worse.

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Hey! Audi doesn’t even wear them, so take that “advice” with a pinch of salt - hopefully in a quiet room with the aids OFF.

Y’know, I can offer advice on life in a wheelchair but it wouldn’t be great cuz I don’t use one. Ultimately, we have to listen to our bodies and pace things a bit…

Sure! I had it with hearing aids, probably worse because it was such amplified noise. I’ve had my implant for almost a year now and at least the sounds and conversation make sense to me. However, reverting to complete silence is still often a relief at the end of the day.

I have discovered in the rare social situations in which I have found myself in these covid plagued months, I tend to max out after a few hours of active conversations with people. Even though I can hear quite well now, it is almost mentally overwhelming after awhile. I have actually said to my friends: “OK. I’m done. I’m going home now. Over and out!” I call it auditory overload.

Kathy, your audiologist wants you to wear them 12 hours a day so you get used to having them in your ears. Thats a separate issue . He even says if necessary lower the volume if you have to. That’s the part that addresses the sound fatigue. When I got my first aids I would wear them at home without batteries. That’s to get used to having this foreign thing stuck in my ear. Then I gradually started lengthening the time I wore my aids turned on. Hey you can only let the whole world scream at you for so long

I assume you have bilateral hearing aids. A cochlear implant processor does not go in your ear . It attaches to your head via a magnet under the skin that attaches to the cochlear nerve in your ear. I have single sided deafness. It seems that the learning curve is different between the two. With an Implant your brain has to get used to the sounds and interpret them It is by no way a “normal sound” With single sided deafness there are 2 competing different sounds that I must get use to. The implanted ear tends to overtake the normal ear since the implanted ear sounds robotic and it seems I am always straining to understand anyone which is very draining.