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The Social Impact of Hearing Loss

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Hearing is an integral part of our life, so did you know that untreated hearing loss affects not just you, but the people closest to you as well?  Hearing is the foundation of communication, and not being able to hear will result in:

 

Frustration: Your loved ones need to constantly repeat themselves

Helplessness: Your loved ones misinterpret your withdrawal and avoidance of activities and people as signs of anger or disinterest

Worry: Your loved ones are always worrying that you’re unable to hear warning sounds like alarms, car honks and smoke detectors

Misunderstanding: Your loved ones get confused when you answer incorrectly, pass on the wrong information or do not respond at all

 

The good news is, most cases of age related hearing loss can be mitigated by hearing aid technology. Unfortunately, there are many related issues that are not physical in nature. Studies have also shown that hearing loss can affect you socially and be detrimental to your mental health in the long run.

 

SOCIAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT

 

For those of us fortunate enough to have good hearing, sometimes we might not notice how affected people are inconvenienced.  If you spent most of your life speaking and listening to communicate, then the idea of losing your hearing can be quite shocking. Consider these scenarios from someone who is affected by hearing loss:

 

Social isolation 
Simple conversations that you have taken for granted all your life become more challenging as your hearing worsens. You don’t want to be a bother and ask people to repeat what they are saying all the time, so you start to avoid noisy places that make conversations difficult. Before you realise it, you’re isolating yourself from people.

 

Impact on relationships 
You become more withdrawn because you’re afraid to be caught in situations where people might think you are ignoring them when in fact, you just can’t hear them clearly. As they are unaware, they believe that you are avoiding them and start to leave you alone. That may give you a false sense of relief at first, but with time, that often turns into feelings of perceived rejection.

 

Low self-esteem 
We can’t operate alone – even if we can do without friends, how can we be effective at work by doing so? Without any comfort from family and friends nor pride from good work, it’s natural to question your self-worth and pull yourself even further away from those whom you view as more successful. This may potentially turn into a vicious, downward spiral.

 

Depression 
With all that to deal with, it shouldn’t be surprising that there is also a link between untreated hearing loss and depression: studies have shown that those suffering from moderate and severe hearing loss are more likely to suffer from depression.

 

SOLUTIONS FOR HEARING LOSS

With today’s technology, there are great solutions to mitigate hearing loss.  It is natural to be wary of change, however the sooner you seek solutions, the sooner you are able to live life to the fullest again. 

 

Speak to family, friends and coworkers openly about it 
Those dear to you will be more than willing to accommodate. When they know of your condition and that you are seeking treatment, you are no longer under pressure to keep up appearances.

 

Seek treatment for hearing 
Even if it’s just a hunch, do not delay in seeking help. A hearing test is painless and can be completed in a matter of minutes. If it is ascertained that you have hearing loss, then hearing aids are most often the solution to improve your hearing and help prevent further damage.

 

Today, hearing aids are no longer clunky nor difficult to use.  About the size of a 50 cent coin, they are barely noticeable and integrate seamlessly with your lifestyle.  Some hearing aids can link with televisions and smartphones to enjoy media content and conduct conversations better.  Some hearing aids can also be quite smart in that they can detect the various environments you’re in (at a noisy restaurant, vs. home for example) and automatically adjusts the optimal setting for you.

 

In the face of all the potentially damaging effects of hearing loss, it’s empowering to know that we all have the means to take control of the situation. For sure, we can’t do it by denying that it’s a problem. By taking that first step, we would have made the most important one to achieving healthy hearing.

 

This wellness series on hearing loss is brought to you by nessa™. nessa™’s unique solutions breaks down the traditional barriers of cost, inconvenience and stigma associated with hearing aids.  To learn more about nessa™ hearing aids and services or to register for a free hearing test, please visit nessa.asia or call +65 6817 3297.

 

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