Hearing loss is commonly associated with mental and emotional health. Realising that you are gradually losing your hearing and may not be able to listen to your favourite music, communicate with your loved ones and engage in one-on-one or group conversations can leave you in a shock.
It often takes a long time, sometimes 4-5 years for some people to realise that their hearing is impaired. From the onset of the condition to finally getting it treated, the sufferer undergoes varied emotional stages, which manifest their sentiments about their condition.
Hearing loss in many people goes undetected and untreated because they keep ignoring the signs. While young children are usually unable to realise their hearing impairment until they are clinically assessed, many adults tend to overlook significant signs that indicate towards hearing loss.
Not getting the right help in the right time can cause permanent damage to your ears and affect your quality of life.
Why are you mumbling? Can you turn down the background music so that I can hear you guys better? Can you please repeat what you said? The audio of the TV must be set too low, I can’t hear fine what they’re saying properly?
Denial is a natural reaction to hearing loss but a temporary stage that occurs due to the fear of embarrassment. It seems convenient for some people to alter their environment to compensate their hearing loss.
The phase of denial advances and lead the sufferer to a stage where they start blaming others out of frustration and anger. Family members or near ones may mock or laugh at their inability to hear clearly, which annoys the person with impaired hearing and they lash out in anger to defend their inability.
Eventually when temporary defence (the stage of denial and anger) is replaced with partial acceptance, the sufferer begins to cut themselves out of family gatherings and social events to avoid embarrassing situations.
They start to evade one-on-one interactions and group conversation in the fear of having people know about their hearing issue.
All the stages together automatically cause the person suffering from hearing loss to isolate themselves, ultimately leading to depression.
Isolation and the loss of social activity and interaction create a feeling of low self-esteem, which prevent the sufferer from getting help and care they need.
After all the ignorance, denial, frustration and isolation, there comes a phase when the individual with impaired hearing gets tired of missing out on things they once use to enjoy.
The stage leads them to seek professional help and find a suitable hearing device to improve their hearing and the quality of life.
A visit to an experienced, reputed audiologist is the first step in the stage of acceptance. A hearing specialist examines your hearing to determine the cause and degree of your hearing loss so that they can offer a solution that best suits your condition and needs.
Many hearing centres and clinics offer a free introductory hearing assessment to their clients followed by a full hearing evaluation. The results of these hearing assessments help the audiologist suggest a suitable treatment for your hearing impairment.
Furthermore, using a digital hearing device for the first time can be a bit challenging initially. The wearer will hear sounds they haven’t heard for a long time, which may feel unusual and strange in the beginning. Remember that it will take some time for your ears to adapt to the new hearing device.
Remember that success with hearing aids relies largely on personal care and motivation. A positive attitude and a little effort on the user’s part can go a long way to speed up the adaption process and improve the listening experience. It is advisable to learn about care and maintenance of your hearing device and hearing aid batteries to get the most out of your device and experience.
Damien Dicieri is a hearing specialist who has extensive knowledge of hearing assessments and conditions, which he shares with his internet audience through comprehensive blogs, articles and content pieces.