Hearing is our most critical sense when it comes to our ability to communicate, and even small degrees of hearing loss can have profound effects on how we interact and connect with others. Being separated from that ability not only has consequences for our social lives — it can have physical effects, as well, which can detract significantly from overall health.
Social Effects of Hearing Loss
Those suffering from hearing loss often begin to notice their difficulty in the following circumstances:
- Hearing conversations in large groups
- Participating in conversation in restaurants or other settings with background noiseHearing on the telephone
- Understanding women’s and children’s voices
Party settings and even small family gatherings can strain hearing to the point where the additional mental effort required to decode what seems like broken speech can become tiresome. Eventually, such social situations can become so difficult that those experiencing hearing loss may begin to withdraw from them altogether. Individuals instead begin to prefer less demanding, quieter settings — often away from the precious social contact that enriches our lives and draws us closer to the ones we love.
The stress of living with hearing loss, too, can have its own consequences:
- Distrust of others
- Anger at not feeling understood
- Feeling socially marginalized
- Reluctance to seek treatment or to wear hearing aids can cause additional stress when individuals — often unconsciously — wish to conceal their hearing loss, and potentially miss out on important communications.
- Compromised hearing in the workplace, for instance, can have significant effects on job performance and even earning potential.