Did you know that hearing loss can come between you and happiness? Leaving your hearing loss untreated can have some serious unintended consequences. It can negatively affecting your mental health and impede your quality of life. It can all be traced back to how large a role communication plays in our lives. Not being able to communicate adequately can lead to a wide range of problems, not the least of which are depression, anxiety and social isolation.
Untreated hearing loss can limit us and shape our behavior. When it comes to hearing loss and anxiety, the connection between the two is strong. Hearing loss often manifests in a way that you can detect sound, but have trouble comprehending meaning from it. This is especially true in complicated sound environments like a noisy train station or a busy restaurant. People with hearing loss often find it hard to separate relevant speech and sound from background noise in such environments. Consequently, it detracts from the ability to relax in a situation.
Having untreated hearing loss can sever people from their favorite activities. Instead of savoring enjoyable situations like dinner with friends or seeing a live concert, hearing loss can turn make the experience confusing and frustrating. In stressful situations, comprehension problems caused by hearing loss can provoke stress and anxiety. Hearing loss restricts our understanding of our surroundings and anxiety can take advantage of our instincts and discomfort. The negative reinforcement of anxiety can sap the pleasure and ease from everyday activities, turning pastimes we once enjoyed into uncomfortable ordeals.
Social isolation is a serious problem that can be brought on or exacerbated by untreated hearing loss. Just as hearing issues can provoke anxiety by changing how we relate to the world, it can also easily shut us out of our social connections. While hearing loss is making our social experiences in the world more stressful, it simultaneously drives us away from the people and connections we know and depend on.
Often hearing loss strains the ability to partake in a conversation. Talking and connecting with others becomes more difficult and less enjoyable when you have to compensate for untreated hearing impairment. This can make a person less willing to engage with their friends, coworkers, family and other social networks, withdrawing from situations where hearing loss makes them uncomfortable. At first, this may seem like a once-in-a-while occurrence, skipping a get together with friends or avoiding phone calls because your hearing makes conversation less pleasurable. This can form a pattern that sets the stage for isolation, gradually weakening your social connections.
Living with untreated hearing loss greatly increases your risk of depression. When your ability to hear is compromised, your ability to communicate suffers. Oftentimes people with hearing loss report feeling like they are not understood by others, in addition to difficulties understanding what others are saying to them. The added effects of anxiety and isolation can also compound into deep unhappiness and depression.
Depression saps our drive and energy, it holds us back from our goals, crushes self-esteem and can be life-threatening. Depression can destroy hard-earned success and happiness and makes the body vulnerable to other health issues. By increasing our risk of disconnection from others, leaving hearing loss untreated makes us more vulnerable to depression.
The news is not all bad however. Although untreated hearing loss makes you more susceptible to anxiety, depression and social isolation, there is hope. While much hearing loss is permanent, most hearing loss can be treated effectively with hearing aids and assistive devices. Treating hearing loss can keep us connected to the world, helping minimize the negative effects of hearing loss. Taking care of your auditory wellbeing is an important step towards taking care of your happiness and mental health.
Be sure to maintain your hearing health with an annual check-up with our hearing specialists at Arizona Balance and Hearing Aids. Support your hearing throughout the year – if you notice issues or problems hearing sound or understanding speech, come see us for hearing help. Additionally, if you are already using hearing aids, Arizona Balance and Hearing Aids is hear to help you maintain your hearing, connect with your happiness and get the most out of life!