Psychological Effects of Hearing Loss

 

Do you keep canceling on your friends or family because you feel anxious to meet them in a busy place? Do you often feel self-conscious in public places because you wear a hearing aid?

Well, it is natural to feel so. 

This is a common issue with people suffering from hearing loss.

People with hearing loss may struggle with anxiety, social isolation, depression, and other mental health concerns without even realizing it. This is a condition that affects your everyday life at a granular level. Thus, it can have a lasting impact on your mental well-being. However, due to a lack of awareness, people are left untreated for severe mental conditions until it is too late.

Through this blog, we will help you understand the psychological effects of hearing loss in detail.

Psychological Effects of Hearing Loss
Image Source: TLC Public Library

Hearing Loss and its Connection to Mental Wellness

Hearing is not just a simple process of listening and responding to sounds. It is a complex process that requires your brain to grasp, process, understand, and respond to the sound signals, just like the visual information captured through the eyes.

Since hearing and thinking skills are connected, there can be several reasons that connect mental health issues to hearing loss.

When you experience hearing loss, it becomes difficult to identify between speech, sound, and noise. This puts you in a position where you cannot express your challenges because you are unaware of them. You try to cope with the situation, and when you fail to do so, you often start feeling lonely, which may have a severe impact on your mental well-being.

How to identify the signs of mental illness due to hearing loss?

It may so happen that you are unaware of your hearing loss problem, making it difficult to identify any mental illness connected to it. Here are some of the questions you can ask yourself to identify any underlying mental illness associated with your hearing loss:

If you said YES to most of the questions, you should consider making the first step towards your hearing health by either taking the Online hearing test to diagnose your hearing ability or reach out to a Professional.

How to identify the signs of mental illness due to hearing loss

Image Source: Harvard Business Review

How hearing loss impacts mental health?

From social anxiety to severe depression, let us understand how hearing loss can cause various mental illnesses in the long term if left unattended.

When it comes to safety, the ability to hear is a crucial sense of one’s life. Hearing is a powerful sense to alarm your brain about any approaching danger.  When you cannot listen to your phone ring, roadside horn, or some unknown trouble approaching, you might feel anxious and start to panic and stress due to lack of hearing.

Whether you are alone or taking care of someone else, especially an infant/ toddler or anyone older, fearing the worst and not being able to help due to hearing loss can cause an utter sense of uneasiness.

Most individuals with hearing problems may experience social Isolation without realizing it. It usually might begin with a minimal lifestyle change like avoiding large parties or social gatherings, which could spiral down further to avoiding all and any intimate gatherings.

Larger groups, noisy venues, and dark environments can be more challenging for someone with hearing loss.  Some people even retract themselves from any such social scenarios intentionally and stay away from making meaningful relationships due to social gathering fear.

People with hearing loss may experience negative emotions like incompetence, awkwardness, embarrassment, or “not being normal” daily. With aging, untreated hearing loss is more likely to lead someone to depression, anxiety, anger, frustration, emotional instability, and paranoia. If left untreated for long, hearing loss can also affect one’s daily life activities and gradually lead to a state of depression or any severe mental health issue affecting thousands of adults.

Dementia, in simple words, means loss of thinking, remembering, and reasoning skills. Hearing loss leads to difficulty in speech recognition and affects your thinking ability adversely. This interferes with your echoic memory. Hence, a Hearing loss may lead to dementia that would severely impact a person’s ability to perform everyday functions. Though there is no factual evidence backing this theory to determine the exact link between hearing loss and dementia, there is always an increased risk of being affected by other mental illnesses like extreme depression and isolation.

Watch this video on the effects of hearing loss on your brain:

So, what is the solution?

Physicians must recommend routine hearing tests, look out for mental illness symptoms related to it, and screen patients accordingly, especially if someone is suspected of hearing loss.

Some mental illness symptoms include sadness, feeling hopeless, feeling lost, and unwillingness to express/talk about their issues. Symptoms like fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, irritability, and loss of interest will tend to affect your daily activities at work, home, and social gatherings.

As a hearing care professional, if you diagnose hearing loss with underlying mental illness signs, you should suggest your patients seek necessary treatment through medication or therapy.

Dementia

At Quality Hearing Care, we believe in a holistic approach to your hearing health, considering your loved ones’ support and role in improving your lifestyle. If you find this blog informative, please feel free to share it with your loved ones to keep them informed of a probable cause of hearing health issues and the effect that it brings in together.

Watch this video on the patient management process at Quality Hearing Care:

For any further guidance, kindly approach us through our website www.qualityhearingcare.com.

Comment below and let us know your stories, suggestions, or any experiences. We would be happy to hear them!