Hearing Loss and Emotional Wellbeing

Hearing difficulties are life-changing, but an aspect which isn’t readily discussed in the media is the impact on the emotional wellbeing of those affected.

  

Hearing loss affects around 3.6 million Australians, with 90% of those people aged over 50 years old. And with hearing loss affecting more Australian’s every year it is important to understand the signs and symptoms of emotional instability and how you can help your loved ones if they are suffering.

Keep reading to find out how and why hearing loss can affect emotional wellbeing.

Social isolation

It is important to note that symptoms of social isolation can appear well before a person is diagnosed with hearing loss. This is because hearing loss often occurs gradually, and those affected can be unsure about what is happening. The first signs of hearing impacting emotional wellbeing is the individual’s withdrawal from friends, family and the community.

Hearing loss also exacerbates social isolation due to difficulty communicating with others. When this happens, the individual can rely more heavily on visual cues and can also struggle to keep up and give context to conversations. This ongoing difficulty can then lead to issues such as stress, anxiety and fatigue. Furthermore, friends and family may not understand why their loved one has distanced themselves.

Increase in depression

Over time, social isolation and anxiety from hearing loss can lead to depression. This is because when someone needs to work hard to understand others, it can cause them to give up the interests and activities they once enjoyed. Others may even feel misunderstood by their loved ones. In addition, the individual may experience sadness about the loss of hearing which in turn also affects their mental health. Some people with hearing difficulties are proactive in finding ways to communicate, while others can become withdrawn.

In 2007, Australian Hearing released a national telephone survey conducted by Newspoll with 2,401 adults who suffered from hearing impairment. The survey found 60% of Australians with hearing loss displayed symptoms associated with depression. Three of the main symptoms were highlighted including increased irritability and frustration  (52%), difficulty sleeping 22%, and a loss of interest in most activities (18%).

Will hearing aids help?

The good news is that there is continual research which proves that hearing aids can reduce the emotional consequences of hearing loss. This means people who wear hearing aids have improved emotional wellbeing and are less affected by depression.

Need help finding the right hearing aid or need your hearing checked? Contact us today.

If you or any of your loved ones are experiencing signs or symptoms of depression you can contact Beyond Blue here.