Many of us take our five senses for granted (young and old alike). The sound of the river rushing by, children laughing, car horns beeping and home smoke detectors are valuable sounds that are somehow important to our daily lives. Hearing loss can be a difficult challenge for many people, especially for those without hearing devices such as Miracle-Ear. For older adults, hearing loss is not just a physical malady. Hearing loss can affect mental health and quality of life. There are many conditions that can lead to hearing loss, but no matter the cause the result is equally unfortunate.
Undetected Hearing Loss
Hearing loss often goes undetected by healthcare providers. It is an unseen handicap, and often the individual affected does not notice the change in hearing ability. According to Social Work Today, even the sight of someone with a hearing aid does not always signify disability to the observer. As a result, the sensitivity toward the person with hearing loss can be missed.
Hearing Loss Difficulties
There are many things that require hearing. Hearing impaired individuals often struggle with common daily activities. These challenges include:
- Hearing a telephone ring
- Hearing a knock at the door
- Understanding conversation in a public place
- Understanding someone speaking when there is background noise
- Understanding a person talking when his or her face is not visible
- Hearing the television
- Watching a movie or sports event
- Hearing whispers
- Enjoying romantic talk
- Understanding someone who speaks with an accent
- Placing an order in a restaurant
- Understanding salespeople in a store
- Enjoying music
- Hearing traffic
These challenges are not always the result of an issue with volume. This means talking louder may not help. Sometimes a hearing disability affects the ability to discern sounds and words.
Emotional and Mental Effects
There is a negative perception for those that cannot hear well. The individual may feel a sense of failure and sadness. The speaker often mistakenly assumes that lack of hearing has something to do with mental sharpness. Of course hearing loss and intelligence are not linked, but having to ask someone to repeat himself or herself recurrently can be frustrating and lead to depression. Hearing loss can alter the affected person’s:
- Relationship and reaction to surroundings
- Stress levels and coping ability
- Ability to perform on the job
- Need for accommodations
- Personality characteristics
- Mood levels
- Sense of belonging to the world
- Sense of independence
- Ability to communicate and concentrate
- Desire or ability to participate
Hearing is a critical aspect of who we are as individuals. Depression and adjustment difficulties may occur. Shame, inadequacy, awkwardness and embarrassment can occur subsequent to hearing loss. Regular checkups, screening can help manage mental health issues. There is no reason not to live the best life possible. A good hearing aid device can also go along way to getting back to hearing and living.