Hearing loss is estimated to affect one in three people between the ages of 65-74 in the United States. For those over 75, approximately half have some difficulty hearing. Some people see hearing loss as an inevitable part of the aging process, while others refuse to accept that they are having trouble hearing. Hearing loss affects adults of all ages. It doesn’t only impact older adults; in fact hearing loss in younger men and women (those between the ages of 45 - 64) is on the rise. Estimates today show that roughly 14% of adults within this age group have a hearing loss. This is up 26% since 1971!
Accepting a diagnosis of hearing loss can be difficult. Below, we look at how to cope with a hearing loss diagnosis.
After a Hearing Loss Diagnosis
In the weeks following a diagnosis of hearing loss, it’s not uncommon to go through a whirlwind of emotions. They may even fit into the Kübler-Ross model of grief. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first wrote about the five stages of grief in her 1969 book ‘On Death and Dying.’ You may experience these stages after a diagnosis of hearing loss.
- Denial - It can take up to 10 years for an adult to treat their hearing loss with a hearing aid. The reluctance may be down to a perceived social stigma against people with a hearing impairment, or perhaps even an inability to recognize difficulties hearing. Following a diagnosis of hearing loss, denial is a common first response.
- Anger - After denial comes anger on the Kübler-Ross model of grief. You may feel angry that this has happened to you. Or perhaps angry that you don’t feel other people are making enough of an effort to ensure you’re able to hear. You may even feel anger towards your hearing care professional who wasn’t able to restore full hearing.
- Bargaining - The bargaining phase may involve you relying heavily on your hearing care professional to maximize the benefits of your hearing aid.
- Depression - Some people with a hearing loss find social situations stressful and difficult to handle. Rather than tackle the issue, some will withdraw into themselves and end up socially isolated. This is particularly true for adults with untreated hearing loss. Depression is unfortunately a side effect. Positively however, treating a hearing loss has been shown to help your mental health.
- Acceptance - Accepting your hearing loss may take time. It’s likely that your acceptance will come on gradually. The more you accommodate for your hearing loss, the less of an impact it will have on your day to day life. You’ve probably learned communication strategies, and have adjusted to the use of your hearing aids.
Hearing Loss Doesn’t Have to Hold You Back!
At Hearing, Balance & Speech Center, we understand that accepting a hearing loss isn’t easy. Our hearing care professionals are on hand to help you throughout this time. Our Hearing Blog features useful information on hearing devices, as well as communication strategies. Seeking treatment for a hearing loss will help to minimize the impact that it can have on your quality of life. Don’t delay, book an appointment with the team at Hearing Balance & Speech Center. Call us on 1-800-HEAR-IT-1 or book a consultation with us today.