You might think that hearing loss only affects your ability to hear. While it’s true that hearing loss makes it difficult to hear the TV or talk on the phone, struggling to hear affects almost every part of your life. Do you miss the birds chirping, or hearing your grandkids playing in the yard? Do you feel safe when you cross the street, or are you worried you won’t hear a warning honk from a fast-approaching car? Do you avoid social interactions because you can’t hear what’s being said? Not only that, but hearing loss has been linked to depression in a number of studies, and living with hearing loss could be having a major impact on your mental and emotional health.
How Hearing Loss Affects Social Interactions
Living with hearing loss makes it difficult to communicate. Many of us lead active social lives, whether in work situations, social events, or with family at home. Hearing loss affects your ability to communicate effectively, and negatively impacts social behaviors. People with hearing loss are more likely to withdraw from social situations, or choose not to go to functions where they’ll have difficulty hearing. No one wants to be the person who answers inappropriately, or misses the punchline of a joke. It can be embarrassing to ask someone to repeat themselves again, and those with hearing loss often decide to stay at home rather than facing these communication challenges. They often become frustrated with social situations, and may even lash out at friends or loved ones. This leads to a feeling of isolation, loneliness, and helplessness, making it harder to seek treatment.
Hearing Loss and Depression
How are hearing loss and depression linked? Adults of all ages living with untreated hearing loss risk developing anxiety, social difficulties, and even depression. It’s all about communication. If you have hearing loss, even having a simple conversation with your friends can be a challenge, and having a meaningful conversation with your spouse can be almost impossible. Having good communication is the key to maintaining healthy relationships, so if you aren’t able to communicate clearly, it makes sense that your relationships begin to suffer. Maintaining mental health includes having strong social support, and feeling connected with loved ones, and since hearing loss can be a major barrier in communication, it is linked to depression.
Major depression affects nearly 15 million American adults every year, with many struggling to maintain healthy relationships or hold down jobs. Common signs of depression include a lack of energy, a loss of appetite, and feeling powerless to change. Those struggling with depression are often irritable, easily discouraged, withdrawn from others, and prone to feeling worthless or hopeless.
Barriers to Seeking Treatment
For many Americans, the link between hearing loss and depression isn’t clear, so when they’re feeling blue, they don’t think about scheduling a hearing test. Not only that, but for those who do realize they’re struggling to hear, admitting they have hearing loss can be a challenge. No one wants to feel old, and many people think that having hearing loss is a sign of old age. The reality is that many adults and young people have hearing loss from exposure to loud noises on the job, during leisure activities, or even out and about in noisy cities. Having hearing loss doesn’t make you old, but living with untreated hearing loss can have some severe consequences.
Schedule a Hearing Test
If you or a loved one suffers from depression, or you think you have hearing loss, don’t wait any longer and schedule a hearing test as soon as possible! Seeking treatment for your hearing loss could have some side affects you weren’t expecting, like restoring your confidence, and rebuilding relationships. Being able to hear again will also improve your physical and mental health.
Hearing aids of today are sleek sophisticated devices that will fit easily into your life without drawing attention to your hearing loss. Some models are so tiny they’re almost invisible! New hearing technology also allows you to connect to your smartphone for easy streaming, and many hearing devices are fully rechargeable, so you don’t even need to fiddle with tiny batteries.
To book an appointment to explore your hearing options, call us today at Exceptional Hearing Care, and get ready for a life-changing experience.