How Hearing Loss Impacts Mental Health and Wellbeing

Hearing loss doesn’t just impact your ability to hear. The consequences of losing your hearing can impact various areas of your life and in some cases even lead to serious issues with your health. One impact of losing your hearing that many people do not realize is the effect that it can have on your mental health and wellbeing. Since hearing is one of the critical senses, issues with your hearing can have an impact on your ability to communicate with the important people in your life such as family, friends, and co-workers. If you are struggling to have conversations and connect with others due to a loss of hearing, this can quickly cause your mental wellbeing to deteriorate over time. 

Why Hearing Loss is Important

Hearing loss will impact your functioning both at home and in the workplace. It will have an effect on how easily you can do a range of everyday activities including responding to questions from people in public or completing a simple grocery shopping transaction. Continuous misunderstandings or mishearing people can lead to more conflicts, or people may start to get frustrated with you if you are often asking them to repeat themselves because you didn’t hear what they said the first time around. It’s also difficult to ask questions of others confidently if you are not sure what they are saying in the first place. If you have noticed any of these impacts in your life, you can search for a specialist at www.phonak.com/us/en/find-a-hearing-care-specialist.html.

Miscommunication and Misunderstanding

Sometimes, older people or people who are hard of hearing might be wrongly considered to be acting in a disagreeable or uncooperative manner when in reality, it is because they are struggling to pick up on exactly what is happening due to hearing loss. This can lead to communication issues and a higher risk of misunderstandings, which over time will take a toll on a person’s mental health and wellbeing.

Loneliness and Social Isolation

Over time, people who are losing their hearing might begin to socially withdraw, as their self-esteem is damaged from their decreasing ability to understand others and have meaningful conversations. It might be easier for some people to withdraw rather than focus on figuring out what is being said. This leads to social isolation, which in turn can lead to loneliness and cause more serious mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. 

Fatigue and Irritation

When you are struggling to hear well, it’s common for people to become easily frustrated or irritated. It’s also common for people who are struggling to hear to become fatigued and exhausted more easily, as they are spending a lot of energy trying to make sense of conversations or keep up with the entertainment that they are consuming such as TV shows and movies. In addition, it is harder for them to keep up with what is being said. 

Depression

Many people suffering from hearing loss are also at a higher risk of developing depression since it can be distressing to become confused about the world around you or experience everything in a more muted way. Hearing loss is a chronic physical health issue that can easily lead to mental health symptoms such as depression setting in as people with the condition may begin to feel more hopeless and helpless about their lives. 

Risk of Dementia

There is an important relationship between hearing loss and cognition that is worth being aware of. Researchers have found that there are some significant links between hearing loss that is caused by aging and cognitive decline. There have been links found between hearing loss and dementia development – in John Hopkins Medicine, an article said that there are various hidden risks of hearing loss, including that mild hearing loss doubles the risk of dementia. Moderate hearing loss can triple the risk of dementia, while people with severe hearing loss were found to be five times more likely than those without hearing loss to develop dementia over time. 

Hearing Loss Treatment and Management Options

Thankfully, hearing loss doesn’t have to impact your life and mental health this much. There are certain types of hearing loss that are preventable or can be treated to manage them and stop them from getting worse. There are various options to consider when it comes to hearing loss treatment and management including hearing aids, assistive listening devices, medication, surgery, and audiologic rehabilitation, which is designed to train people to use their hearing devices or lip-read in order to make it easier for them to adjust to living with hearing loss. 

Hearing loss doesn’t just affect your hearing. Since this is a major sense, losing your hearing can have a huge impact on many different aspects of your life, including your mental health and well-being. 

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