Emotional and Social Impacts of Hearing Loss
Did you know that the one thing that separates us from all other living creatures on earth is the human ability to communicate through language? Our senses of speech and hearing are critical to our communication process. Language and communication through speech and hearing are essential to allow us to exchange our thoughts, explain ourselves, share emotions and relate to others our perception of our life experience and our feelings for them. Therefore, the loss of hearing or speech is devastating to our ability to communicate. When we cannot communicate with others, our life experience begins to suffer. In most cases, people lose the ability to hear with clarity as opposed to complete loss of hearing. When a person cannot understand what others are saying, they are missing out on the participation in and the enjoyment of vibrant conversation. Without hearing loss treatment through intervention or rehabilitation, the loss of the ability to hear and understand with clarity leads to separation from others which spirals into depression, loneliness, isolation and reduced energy and desire to want to join others in events and experiences. When a person has trouble hearing in social situations, they begin to skip family reunions, parties, weddings, trips and events where there will be large groups of people interacting with each other in settings with loud background noise, conversation, and music. A person experiencing some degree of hearing loss finds it difficult to understand and communicate, to feel part of the experience, and not feel ignored. Eventually, the person becomes silent on the side lines; an observer rather than an active participant. This can have such deep emotional and social impact in regards of how we perceive ourselves and experience life; feeling less important to others and to the events of our lives and the world. It becomes easier to live in isolation and quiet without having to struggle, but the adverse effect is then not being able to participate in life. When a person reaches this level of depression and social isolation quite often physical illness follows which may complicate overall health. Therefore, it is vitally important to pursue some options for hearing rehabilitation. In most instances, simple amplification with the hearing aid technologies now available will solve the problem. Professional audiologists can often restore a person’s ability to hear and understand speech with precision, comfort, and great quality of sound. The current advancements in hearing aid technology reduce background and wind noise, allowing a person to hear in group settings and outdoors as well as on a one to one basis. To regain the ability to hear and understand clearly with intervention via hearing aid technology is a positive and simple way to avoid the downward spiral of separation, isolation, and depression, thus significantly improving the quality of one's life.