Someone treating hearing loss

How Hearing Loss Changes Our Relationship With The World

When we consider the ramifications of losing our hearing, we rarely consider the impact it can have on our mental health. Nearly 33% of people between 65 and 74 live with impaired hearing. Our hearing profoundly impacts how we communicate with others and experience our life each day. There are numerous audial cues that we don’t even consider because they’re just part of our world. However, when we lose our hearing, we also lose these cues. Beyond this, we also lose the ability to enjoy music, to hear our loved ones’ voices, and it can become a real struggle to communicate with those around us. At Family Psychiatry & Therapy, we understand the impacts of hearing loss’s impacts and help individuals and families learn how to navigate them.

How Hearing Loss Changes Our Relationship With The World

Hearing and speech and central to the way the majority of people interact with their world and each other. Maintaining a free-flowing conversation is vital to helping us build fulfilling relationships and enjoy all the joys life has to offer. For those born with normal hearing and speech, it’s a seemingly indelible part of their identity. Studies have revealed that those who develop hearing impairments are at increased risk for developing mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety. The rates of these mental health conditions are notably higher in older adults who are experiencing hearing loss. In cases where the individual already struggled with these conditions, their severity tends to increase.

Hearing loss has been shown to impact us in the following ways:

  • Emotional Impact: Any degree of deafness impacts our ability to socialize and communicate easily. Our world isn’t built to accommodate those with hearing impairment. Those who have hearing loss often experience lower-quality interactions with hearing individuals. Something as simple as trying to order a meal, or understand someone on the phone, becomes a tense and emotional experience.
  • Psychological Impact: Casual banter is a normal part of the life of a person with normal hearing. As their hearing begins to fade, it can be difficult to feel included and participate in this banter. Awkwardness, inadequacy, and shame are all feelings commonly expressed by those struggling with hearing loss. Further, after a life spent using sound as part of understanding our environment, it can be disorienting to live without it. From not recognizing dangerous situations to speaking out of turn, the impact of losing our hearing can be far-reaching.

Learning to live without hearing can be emotionally exhausting, especially for those who have lived a life with normal hearing. While the ability to communicate in text and the reach of the internet has provided venues of relief for these individuals, it’s not the same as living life with normal hearing. 

Family Psychiatry & Therapy Can Help With The Challenges Of Hearing Loss

If you or a family member are struggling with the emotional challenges associated with hearing impairment, contact our team for help. We can provide support for these individuals, including helping families find ways to communicate clearly and understand each other’s experiences. Call (201) 977-2889 today to schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Paramus, Upper Saddle River, Patereson, or East Orange, NJ.

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Helene A. Miller / And Other Providers
Family Psychiatry and Therapy brings compassion, understanding, and skilled care to patients throughout New Jersey. Our team of mental health professionals focuses on providing a positive and uplifting experience that aids our patients in facing life’s toughest challenges.