Emotional and Psychological Costs of Untreated Hearing Loss
Many people assume the main effect of hearing loss is difficulty perceiving spoken communication, environmental sounds and music. But there are secondary psychological and emotional effects to consider, as well. Individuals with hearing loss commonly report anger, denial, isolation, social withdrawal, fatigue and depression. Let’s take a closer look at some of those effects.
- Feelings of isolation. Persons with hearing impairment may withdraw or distance themselves socially because they find it too difficult to hear and take part in conversation, creating a sense of isolation. Or they may feel embarrassed that they need to frequently ask for repetition. This withdrawal may in turn cause depression, frustration, annoyance or sadness in their family members and other communication partners.
- Sense of identity. For adults with later-onset hearing loss, a change in hearing status may cause a sense of disorientation, at odds with the interpersonal and occupational aspects of their lives they previously assumed were fixed and unchanging, sometimes causing a crisis of identity. These individuals can sometimes go through a grief process with classic stages displayed – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
- Fatigue. The extra energy and effort required for hearing-impaired individuals to hear and understand conversation can be mentally exhausting. Fatigue can affect one’s behavior and ability to perform day-to-day tasks.
- Effect on earning potential and income. A study sponsored by the Better Hearing Institute (Kochkin, 2007) described the effect on productivity and career success of untreated hearing loss, reporting that untreated hearing loss can account for as much as a $30,000 loss in income.
Untreated hearing loss can have far-reaching effects on individuals and their loved ones. Fortunately, seeking treatment for hearing loss can usually reverse this cascade of consequences. For more information about your options for treating hearing loss, please contact us or call 877-900-3277 today.