Hearing impairment can affect lives in many ways. Untreated hearing loss can negatively affect the physical and mental health of the hearing impaired. Exertion, muscle tension, headaches, feelings of isolation, fear or sadness are some of these consequences.
Studies have shown that hearing loss is associated with decreased brain quality and reduced productivity. Other studies have shown that hearing loss can lead to social isolation and depression, which can reduce the quality of life of those affected. Another study suggests that hearing loss can change the personality of older adults. Those affected become introverted and unsociable.
Researching Hearing Loss and Personality.
The link between untreated hearing loss and poorer physical and mental health in older adults. Older adults with untreated hearing loss were more likely to be hospitalized and suffer from high levels of activity or depression. These are the findings of a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University in the United States.
Researchers suspect that older adults with untreated hearing loss often experience social isolation as a cause of reduced mental and physical ability.
How Hearing Loss Leads to Social Isolation.
Hearing loss has a significant impact on the personality and social life of older adults. Older adults are known to be less outgoing. This personality change may be exacerbated by people with hearing loss. Researchers believe that the link between hearing loss and social withdrawal poses a threat to the overall health of older adults.
Many people – especially the older generation – have a hard time accepting that their hearing is no longer as effective as it once was. “I can still hear very well”, “I’m still too young for hearing aids”, “The later I have to wear my hearing aids, the better”, many relatives know similar excuses. But what most affected people don’t know: the brain slowly but surely forgets how to listen.
Because it never hears all tones and sounds more quietly, only certain frequencies and combinations – the thinking apparatus forgets to recognize these frequencies and combinations, “beautiful” and “hairdryer” then sounds the same, so that it is difficult to hear. Worse: Interpersonal interactions are also unsatisfactory and exhausting.
Social Isolation Affects Your Personality.
The effect when hearing no longer works properly is the same as with the human ear: some people rebel and get depressed, others become fearful and silent. The result is the same – the person concerned can no longer enjoy his social life, because if you can understand only fragments of words, then it is tiring to follow the conversation.
It’s always “I beg your pardon?” For people with hearing loss, it is often embarrassing to have to ask, they are ashamed of their poor hearing, and they are afraid of looking stupid, senile or strange. Little by little, they give up social gatherings or family gatherings – and those affected isolate themselves.
Hearing impairment leads to psychological problems.
It is often difficult for people with good hearing to understand how much the lives of people with hearing loss have changed. There are ways to address psychological problems by changing perceptions. These include
Affected people often seem especially anxious and downright nervous-for example, because they can no longer hear important stimuli from their environment to point out the danger. They suddenly hear loud talking, cannot hear the pace they are walking at, and feel afraid. Hence, the constant tension.
Hard-of-hearing people will avoid situations where they are clearly hard-of-hearing – for fear of embarrassing themselves or becoming mentally unwell. Avoid meetings in coffee houses or larger groups because background noise makes understanding more difficult and they become increasingly isolated.
Simply hearing what someone is saying is not enough to have a good conversation. Because the tone of voice ranges from sarcasm to compassion, it conveys many nuances. Those who don’t hear this find it more difficult to establish and maintain connections.
Mistrust can also be observed in people with hearing loss, especially in old age. You don’t get to talk about what’s going on, why you’re laughing, and think about the conversation and about people laughing at them.
In the worst case scenario, all these problems that people have a hard time hearing can lead to depression. Loneliness, fear, and unsuccessful social relationships create a crisis of meaning, and the affected person is unable to help themselves without help.
Prevent mental health problems.
To prevent the downward spiral from poor hearing to isolation and frustration, relatives and those affected must pull the emergency brake in time. Relatives should point out in particular that wearing a hearing aid is not a stigma, just as wearing glasses is not necessarily associated with old age.
Particularly at the stage of getting used to using the device, attention must also be paid to the mental health of the affected person: they have become accustomed to the fact that their surroundings have become quieter and have lost some of their tones and sounds. If everything suddenly sounds clear and precise, it can be jarring and exhausting for the affected person until they get used to it again.
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