The Silent, Isolating World of Hearing Loss
Sammy Randels, Bountiful Hearing Center
Helen Keller is credited with saying “Blindness separates people from things; deafness separates people from people.” While the physical effects of hearing loss are obvious, it is also mentally, emotionally, and socially damaging to you. Losing your hearing can make you feel that your world is slowly closing in on you. Even surrounded by family and friends, you feel alone simply because you cannot hear what’s going on. You can get frustrated, depressed, angry, and eventually you will give up on socializing completely because it’s easier to avoid those emotions.
According to an article on Hear-it.org, “six in 10 relatives or friends of hearing impaired individuals reported that hearing loss in relatives or friends somewhat or significantly affects their relationships.” In fact, the article explains that 74% of people change their behavior when around a friend or relative with hearing impairment. While this can impact couples the hardest, don’t underestimate the effect it has on your extended family, friends and co-workers.
Untreated hearing loss increases an individual’s risk of suffering from depression, anxiety and paranoia, leading one to avoid social events completely. By getting the right help, often in the form of a hearing aid, your quality of life can improve tremendously! Audiology.org reports that “among respondents with more severe hearing loss, 42 percent of hearing aid users participate regularly in social activities compared to just 32 percent of non-users.
Hear-it.org tells us that all studies show that treatment of hearing loss significantly improves the quality of life for the individual while also improving their social relationships. To support this, below is a chart Audiology.org published showing improvement made by having your hearing loss treated:
|Improvement Area||Improvement Reported by Hearing Aid User (%)||Improvement Reported by User’s Family (%)|
|Relations at home||56||66|
|Feelings about self||50||60|
|Relations with children, grandchildren||40||52|
|Relations at work||26||43|
Losing your hearing is hard, but ignoring the loss will make your life – and your loved ones lives – even harder. Don’t let yourself fall into a silent, isolated world! Call an audiologist to schedule a hearing evaluation as soon as possible. Taking the first step toward a better life can be difficult, but once you take it you’ll be happy you did. Your friends and loved ones will be excited to see you back at their social events and your small, quiet world will once again become vibrant and lively.