When people think of hearing loss, they often think of its logistical issues. Side effects like not being able to understand the barista at Bump Coffee or having to turn the TV up really loud are usually what first comes to mind, but there are less often thought of emotional side effects as well.
Let’s examine some emotional side effects you can expect from hearing loss and how you can manage them.
Depression and Anxiety
An evaluation of 17,135 people with hearing loss concluded that the likelihood of anxiety among people with hearing loss is higher than those without. In the study, individuals with hearing loss presented with a lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorder 11.1% of the time.
A survey on the prevalence of depression in people with hearing loss found that “The prevalence of moderate to severe depression was 4.9% for individuals reporting excellent hearing, 7.1% for those with good hearing, and 11.4% for participants who reported a little trouble or greater HL.” Depression manifests as a consistent feeling of sadness. It can arise from a lack of physical activity, social isolation, feelings of inadequacy and more.
During your hearing loss journey, pay attention to your mood and feelings. Consider journaling or taking a medication class to help you process your emotions.
Shame and Inadequacy
Feelings of shame or inadequacy may arise when we struggle to do something we think should be effortless or innate. Approximately 15% of U.S. adults (37.5 million) report some trouble hearing. If your hearing loss makes you feel shameful or inadequate, try to remember that you aren’t alone and there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Awkwardness in Social Situations
Feelings of awkwardness in social situations with hearing loss are extremely common. When we struggle to understand our peers because of difficulty communicating or hearing speech, it is easy to choose isolation over social gatherings.
If you have trouble participating in social situations, consider talking to your friends about your hearing loss. Asking them to look directly at you when they speak or rephrase a sentence you didn’t understand will help improve communication and decrease social stress.
Another option to help you in social situations is to wear hearing aids. The small but technologically advanced devices help you identify and understand speech sounds while reducing ambient noise. They will help you better engage with your friends and decrease some of the stress caused by hearing loss.
To begin your hearing treatment journey, contact San Diego ENT today.