The Emotional Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is an invisible disability, and one in six Australians has it.
It has been found that most people who think they have hearing loss wait three to five years before booking a hearing test or getting help.
More often than not, people use the excuse of “selective hearing” to justify their inability to hear or follow conversations at home or work.
This article will discuss the different types of hearing loss, the emotional burdens caused by untreated hearing loss, and how you can treat your hearing loss.
The Different Types of Hearing Loss
There are three different types of hearing loss:
This type of hearing loss is permanent and occurs when there is damage to the cochlea due to injury to the hair cells or hearing nerve. Since the hair cells do not regenerate, the hearing can’t come back. This is the most common type of hearing loss found in adults.
This type of hearing loss is caused by problems in the middle ear or ear canal. This type of hearing loss can be short or long-term depending on the recurrent nature and medical treatment.
This type of hearing loss is diagnosed when both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss is found in the same ear.
Emotional Effects of Untreated Hearing Los
One major consequence of hearing loss is failed relationships between spouses, family members or friends.
The most common complaints audiologists hear are “I can’t hear my partner at home” or “my family thinks I have selective hearing”.
Failed relationships can lead to depression, anger, isolation and frustration. Due to the detrimental effects hearing loss can have on your mental health and relationships; it’s ever so important to get your hearing tested regularly.
Regular hearing tests can be conducted in as quick as 30 minutes and will provide you with the information to know how severe your hearing loss is and what you can do to treat it.
When left untreated, hearing loss can cause embarrassment and low self-esteem due to the gradual loss of hearing.
Due to the gradual loss, hearing difficulties can go unnoticed for months or sometimes years. Certain challenges may include trying to follow a group conversation in an environment with lots of background noise or trying to hear your partner in the supermarket during peak times.
Those who have hearing loss may feel embarrassed about their situation and just nod along to conversations they can’t actually hear. This leads to social isolation and low self-esteem.
Irritability and anger
When you have a hearing loss that has been left untreated, a lot of the time, people don’t know how to cope with it.
Not being able to participate in social events, talk with someone in a noisy room or hear the TV without your partner telling you it’s too loud can lead to irritability and anger.
Emotional and mental fatigue
Adults with hearing loss who strain to hear at home and work can lead to emotional and mental fatigue as they are constantly trying hard to hear.
Those with hearing loss often become observers of conversations rather than actively participating. This can lead to emotional and social impacts as they can feel less important because they can’t hear anyone.
What Can You Do?
Often it’s as simple as a rehabilitation program to teach individuals how to utilise their remaining hearing instead of accepting that they can’t hear at all.
Without proper communication strategies, such as asking someone to slow down when speaking or speak louder, the hearing loss will eventually lead to frustration and anger, exacerbating the possibility of associated psychological problems.
Therefore, it’s always wise to seek help and treatment when you notice your hearing loss has a negative emotional, social and mental effect on your life.
With the amount of technology around these days, there are plenty of different assistive listening devices and amplification devices that can be tailored to the severity of your hearing loss and your lifestyle.
In A Nutshell
Hearing loss affects one in six Australians, and many of them leave their hearing loss untreated.
If hearing loss is left untreated, so many detrimental impacts can lead to poor mental health, social isolation, and low self-esteem.
If you think you may have hearing loss or have noticed a change in your hearing, book a hearing test at your nearest Attune Hearing clinic. Our comprehensive tests are only 30-minutes long, and our audiologists will be able to tell you the severity of your hearing loss and the best way to manage it.
Whether it’s an assistive listening device, hearing aid or cochlear implant, there is always something that can help you enjoy your life without missing out on important conversations, the sounds of birds and the crashing of waves.
You can book a hearing test here or contact us on 1300 736 702.