Hearing loss is an invincible disability that can develop early in an individual’s life, or it can come about through injury or old age. The effects of impaired hearing differ from one person to another, but all people who have hearing loss suffer from physical, social, and physiological problems.
Efforts to suppress the effects of hearing loss only makes it worse, since studies show that by not seeking help, the individuals become more disabled in their functioning and reputation. In the end, the psychosocial impact of hearing loss causes people to harbor negative emotions like anger, anxiety, frustration, embarrassment, and depression.
Strain Interpersonal Relationships
An individual’s ability to carry out daily pursuits depends heavily on hearing as well as room acoustics, background noise, and familiarity. For a person with impaired hearing, these abilities are non-existent which can lead to injury, withdrawal from society, as well as the society sidelining them.
Hearing loss have been known to cause a strain on relationships either at work, school, and at home. This can result in other people treating the person suffering from hearing loss differently. The strain is often as result of communication breakdown. It can be irritating to ask people to repeat themselves, or they detach themselves from the conversation altogether.
The unfortunate thing about this kind of strain is that it can really damage interpersonal relationships, even though no one is actually at fault. Those with hearing loss really start to isolate themselves a little bit, if only because they are too embarrassed to continue to ask “could you repeat that” – and feel bad when people start to respond negatively to answering this question over and over again.
For people experiencing deteriorating hearing loss, it is easy to wallow in low self-esteem, and studies show that they experience self-criticism. This is mostly due to anger, depression and other negative emotions. Feelings of anxiety arise every time someone tries to hold a conversation with him or her, coming off as aloof and self-absorbed.
Self-criticism leaves one with feelings of embarrassment, anger, guilt, and shame which is counterproductive. This makes it harder for them to embrace help such as hearing aids and other forms of treatment.
Pride is an awfully powerful thing in men and women, and most people just aren’t all that comfortable admitting to themselves – and especially not admitting to anyone else – that they are inadequate in any way whatsoever. Most people also have a truly difficult time recognizing that they are “slipping” a little bit, even when those slips can be completely eliminated with the use of technology like a hearing aid. The denial stage can be especially difficult, as sufferers can decide not to get proper treatment or hearing aid.
Some will even go forward with a hearing aid just to appease other people that are obviously having difficulty with an individual suffering from hearing loss, only to remove that hearing aid at any and every opportunity and pretend as though it isn’t as beneficial as it truly can be. The reason for that can be that they don’t want to be associated with a condition that is so often linked to aging, or they worry that a visible hearing aid will not look good on them.
Above mentioned psychosocial effects of hearing loss can cause sudden changes in how people treat hearing impaired individuals. This can cause certain employers overlook them for promotions they deserve, and sometimes they are passed over the picking order for job vacancies. Co-workers, customers, and contractors can send derogatory jokes and texts, and it can add to the psychosocial trauma.
It’s amazing to think that at this point in time people are still dealing with discrimination stemming from issues that they have absolutely zero control over. Even still, every year, there are a tremendous amount of people that feel uncomfortable going to work, going to school, or even just interacting generally with new people because of their hearing loss and how they have been treated in the past. This can have a disastrous impact on interpersonal relationships (especially those of the romantic type), and no one should have to lead that kind of lonely life just because they can’t hear quite as well as they used to in the past.
The risk of developing above mentioned psychological and social consequences of hearing loss is increased even more if hearing loss in not properly treated. Careful evaluation and treatment promise long term health and quality of life. It is also very important that the loved ones of the hearing impaired person get proper education and support regarding hearing loss and communication strategies. Reducing isolation is another important step and must include supporting hard of hearing people to build up social networks. Strong emotional support is crucial in order to overcome the negative psychosocial impact of hearing loss.