How hearing loss affects Mental Health

Hearing loss is an invisible disability and if it’s untreated or inadequately treated, hearing loss can have a detrimental effect on mental health that can lead to everything from dementia to depression.  If you’re concerned about your own hearing loss or the hearing loss of someone close to you, consider looking into the available hearing aids and treatments available.  To hear well in a world full of stimulating conversations, wonderful music, theater, and the simple sounds of life is a wonderful thing!  However there is a darker side of hearing loss that requires examination.  Listed below are a handful of ways that hearing loss can negatively affect mental health when it goes untreated for too long.

Heightened Anxiety

That nagging feeling of concern, unease, worry or nervousness is another mental health woe that can accompany untreated hearing loss. The ability to hear is an important factor related to your sense of safety. When you aren’t able to hear a phone, alarm, siren, cry for help or even someone approaching you, increased anxiety and subsequent stress can be the unfortunate results. Whether you’re alone or taking care of someone else, such as a small child, fearing the worst and not being able to hear what’s going on around you can cause a sense of uneasiness. When you feel relaxed and secure in your own home, it is easier to have a calm and stress-free mind.

Social Isolation

Many individuals with hearing loss experience social isolation, whether they realize it or not. It might begin with avoiding large parties or gatherings and trickle down to canceling on smaller, intimate affairs. For those with hearing loss, large groups and noisy venues can make it even more difficult to hear and engage in conversation thus being able to contribute to social situations.

Depression

Untreated hearing loss can affect an individual’s daily life and lead to depression, a serious mental health issue affecting 15 million American adults.   An article in Social Work Today explains some of the common negative emotions people with hearing loss say they sometimes feel, including inadequate, stupid, awkward, embarrassed, different or abnormal. According to a study by the National Council on Aging, people 50 and older with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, anger, frustration, emotional instability and paranoia than those who sought hearing solutions.

Dementia

While it has been known for some time that hearing loss can actually cause atrophying in the auditory processing parts of the brain, recent studies suggest that hearing loss may be a risk factor for dementia to a surprising degree.  Some studies have shown that even a mild hearing loss can double a person’s risk of developing dementia, while a moderate untreated hearing loss can actually triple the risk

Hearing aids are so advanced with today’s technology they will make it easier for people with hearing loss to re-engage in social situations and refocus on building relationships.  By seeking a hearing solution, individuals with hearing loss can improve their relationships, mental health, stress and anxiety levels and the ability to feel safe. Call a qualified audiologist TODAY!

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