It’s easy to assume that hearing loss only affects your hearing. However, it can have a much more detrimental impact than you might think, with many people facing significant mental distress as a result of not being able to hear. Alongside finding it challenging to hear conversations, some people also experience some of the following mental and emotional effects.
Depression and Anxiety
Before visiting a hearing aid and audiology clinic like HearCanada for hearing aids, people with hearing loss can experience depression and anxiety related to feeling like they’re losing part of their identity. They might cry more easily, experience sleep disruptions and slowed responses, and have fluctuations in their weight. There can also be a great deal of anxiety associated with being a part of a conversation they might miss sections of, making it obvious that they’re experiencing hearing loss.
When you’re struggling to hear what’s happening around you, you must put more effort into trying to listen to what people are saying. Straining to hear can sometimes require more energy than it might if you weren’t experiencing hearing loss. At the end of a social occasion, it’s not uncommon to feel mentally and physically exhausted.
Anger and Denial
Hearing loss can be so gradual that many people aren’t aware they’re experiencing it. Over time, they might realize that they can’t engage in conversations as easily as they used to and even become angry when people aren’t speaking loudly enough. Denial is also a common consequence of hearing loss, particularly as some people aren’t readily able to accept that their hearing is not as sharp as it used to be.
After finding it exhausting to be in social situations and being frustrated by not being able to engage in conversations, many people experiencing hearing loss decide to withdraw from social settings altogether. They might no longer want to go out with their friends, attend parties, go to loud restaurants and bars, or be in groups of people in public settings. Social withdrawal and isolation might cause depressive symptoms to develop or enhance the symptoms the sufferer already has.
While not specifically an emotional side effect of hearing loss, a review and meta-analysis in The Journal of the American Medical Association found a link between hearing loss and cognition. Mild hearing loss doubled the dementia risk, while moderate hearing loss tripled it. People with severe hearing loss were also five times more likely to develop dementia.
Hearing loss might be a physical condition, but it can have emotional and mental health consequences. If you believe you’re experiencing hearing-related issues, seek help for hearing loss and your associated emotional well-being.