Fatigue crept up on Sydney GP John D'Arcy, who thought he was coping.
It was not until he admitted he was losing his hearing and had an aid fitted that he solved the problem.
He fell from a tree 20 years ago, which resulted in a serious brain injury, from which he recovered, and total hearing loss in his right ear, from which he did not.
"I got better in about six months from the point of view of falling from the tree but I started to get a bit isolated," Dr D'Arcy, 65, said. "I would say (to my wife) 'That was a waste of time, why did we go to that dinner'."
He eventually started practising strategies such as positioning himself properly to ensure he could hear out of his left ear.
"For 19 years, I put up with that," he said. "Then I suddenly realised I was losing my hearing in my left ear."
But Dr D'Arcy, who is Australian Hearing's ambassador, said it was not until an audiologist he was travelling with suggested he have a hearing test that he took action and got fitted with a hearing aid.
"It has taken away the fatigue of listening," he said. "When you are missing things, you are constantly on the look-out not to miss things.
"You lip-read a fair bit, you look at people's eyes to see 'Are they talking to me, is this directed at me'. I think I had become unaware over the last couple of years of how much that fatigue was affecting me.
"So from that point of view, having a hearing aid has helped me enormously."
Dr D'Arcy said if people acted early to have their hearing tested and an aid fitted if necessary, they would not need to retrain their brains to hear sounds lost to them.
It was also important for people to have their hearing re-tested and hearing aid checked regularly.