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Hearing loss is related to a wide range of health outcomes, but did you know it is connected to mental health, as well? Beyond the effects on the body, untreated hearing loss can contribute to higher rates of mental health problems, many of which are connected to physical health, as well. The good news is that those who get treatment often experience a great deal of relief from these mental health symptoms.
A recent study asked for personal experiences with mental health and hearing loss. Some of the stories and accounts might sound familiar to you. Whether you have hearing loss yourself or these accounts remind you of a loved one in your life, the time is now to seek assistance with hearing. Getting hearing treatment for yourself or your loved one can relieve some of the mental health issues that are included in this study, so don’t put off seeking treatment any longer.
Hearing Loss and Health Survey
Clear Living is a health and wellness lifestyle website, and they have a vast readership available to respond to survey questionnaires. This group of readers and followers were asked to respond to some questions about health and hearing loss, and the survey received 3,767 responses. In any group of survey respondents, a few differences will arise. However, this group of respondents was remarkably consistent in the way they talked about hearing loss, health, and anxiety. They reported again and again that getting treatment for hearing loss made them happier and healthier.
Some of the findings were statistical. For instance, 89 percent of respondents reported that hearing loss created social and personal problems. As well, 58 percent of survey respondents said that their relationships suffered due to hearing loss. A full 35 percent of this sample found it difficult to spend time with friends in public places.
These percentages are a useful guideline to understand what issues and experiences faced the respondents to the study, but there is a key issue with the data. Those who responded to the survey were already readers of the Clear Living site, and they were likely more willing to report these issues with untreated hearing loss. Rather than focusing on the percentages discovered in this non-randomized online survey, the qualitative reports from individuals are even more useful information.
Experiences with Mental Health
The individual reports described several important dimensions connecting hearing loss with mental health challenges. Some reported that they were not able to take part in their favorite activities any longer. Whether going to a bar, bowling, church, or playing football, any activity requiring conversation became more difficult. For some people that difficulty became so great that they stopped taking part altogether.
Work and professional lives were affected, as well. With greater difficulties hearing students, coworkers, and understanding instructions, many people feared that their workplace performance would suffer. Whether or not these fears actually amounted to workplace sanctions, the fear was great enough to make them feel anxiety and frustration about working conditions. Some respondents described direct experiences with mental health challenges. Depression and social isolation came up in these reports, and the two were often connected.
With hearing loss making a person less likely to attend social events, that isolation could lead to a more general experience of depression. Still others mentioned that they felt isolated even while other people were around. Without the ability to easily hear and understand what was going on, they felt alone in the middle of a group. Even family relationships were compromised by this feeling of isolation, and relationships were strained by communication difficulty. Whether the feeling originated from the direct experience of hearing loss or the resulting social and familial challenges, the mental health challenges were impossible to deny in this sample of user-generated responses.
The good news is that those who get treatment for hearing loss often report greatly improved mental health. The ability to communicate is not only a practical concern, but it extends deep into our minds and emotions. When we can converse freely with others, we have the sense we are understood and that we are not alone in the world. These feelings are crucial to our mental wellbeing, and getting treatment for hearing loss can facilitate feelings of connection.
If you have been struggling with hearing loss, wait no longer! Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing test and learn more oastalhearingclinic.com/about how hearing loss treatment can change your life.