Picture of depressed man.Hearing loss makes it difficult for people to understand what is going on around them and to engage in conversations.

Because of these problems, they may also suffer from emotional issues that are related to their struggles, making it difficult for them to keep up their relationships with others.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to combat these emotional problems.

Emotional Problems Related to Hearing Loss

Emotional problems that are related to hearing loss not only affect adults, but they can also affect young children and teens as well. Part of the explanation is that some people with hearing loss avoid social situations and conversations even with loved ones, and feel shame connected to their hearing aids or other devices. These effects in combination can lead to a host of issues that affect their psychological health.

Depression

Several research studies show that people with hearing loss are up to 50 percent more likely to experience depression. This depression stems from the anger and frustration that people feel when they can’t communicate with others, be it at the grocery store checkout or around the dinner table. This depression in some cases is short-term, but for others, it can persist for a more extended period.

Anxiety

Nervousness and unease are common among people who do not have healthy hearing, especially when they face the prospect of a social setting. It is harder for them to order food, hear traffic, hold phone conversations, and general, interact with others. When you think about all the things you do in your day-to-day life that involve your hearing, it is easy to understand why those with hearing loss may experience anxiety.

Social Isolation

Depression, anxiety, and being on constant alert for problematic situations can cause people who have trouble hearing to isolate themselves from others. It seems the easiest solution to simply remove themselves to avoid what they consider shame and embarrassment. This leads to problems in personal relationships that affect everyone, as all parties start to feel the sadness, anxiety, and depression linked their lack of interaction. Research shows that this social isolation can also lead to other problems such as a decline in cognitive abilities related to inactivity.

What You Can Do

There are several things you can do to help prevent the emotional problems associated with your hearing loss or the hearing loss of a loved one. The first step is to visit an audiologist to get a hearing test. If you already have hearing aids, make sure you keep getting tested to ensure your hearing devices are up to date. It is also important to talk about hearing loss. Let your family members know the best spot for you to sit at a table, and encourage them to face you when speaking. If you’re helping a loved one with poor hearing, avoid taking them to crowded restaurants or social settings that are very noisy. With proper medical care and good communication, people with hearing loss can vastly improve their own physical and emotional health as well as the health of those around them.