People who start to lose their hearing know it can have a big impact on life, but they may be surprised by the way it can affect their emotions. They might feel helpless or depressed, and get angry or frustrated. The same is true for parents of a child who has hearing loss.
All are normal reactions. But you can face those feelings and get through this tricky transition.
Patients often have trouble talking to their doctors. It can be hard to get the words out when the topic is emotionally charged or one you’d never bring up in polite conversation.
And for various reasons, sometimes including their own embarrassment, doctors may find it hard to bring up certain topics -- and that can compromise the care their patients receive.
“Communication is an inexact science,” says Bob Arnold, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and...
More than 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents. The news that your child is hearing-impaired can come as a shock. It’s normal to cycle through many different feelings, from denial to sadness or even guilt.
Hearing loss is more common later in life. One in three people over 65 have a hearing problem. The emotions that come at this stage may be different, but they can still be upsetting.
“Hearing loss is a loss like any other in our lives,” says Angela Nelson, a doctor of audiology in Burbank, CA. “It’s a death of part of an individual, [and you have] to move through the grief process.”
To do that, reach out to friends and family for help. You might also want to talk about your feelings with a therapist.
“A good support system is essential,” says Aaron Moberly, MD, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Adults who end up using a hearing aid or getting a cochlear implant need lots of social time so they can learn to hear again through their device, Moberly says. And for hearing-impaired children to learn good language and communication skills, it’s important for family members to be involved.
If your child is old enough to talk about his feelings, make sure you give him time to do so and are ready to listen. “Understandably, a lot of parents are so in their own grief that it ... seems to be center stage in place of their child’s grief and fears,” Nelson says.
Make Communication Easier
You won’t get used to living with hearing loss overnight. This is especially true for older people, who wait an average of 7 years to accept they have a problem and get treated.
When faced with the condition, “people often become isolated because social situations are so much more difficult,” Moberly says. If you’re the parent or spouse of someone who’s hearing-impaired, here’s how you can help them:
Turn down background noise, like the TV or dishwasher.
Call or say their name before you start talking.
Speak slowly and clearly. Raising your voice can distort the sound of your words.
Face the person when you speak so they can see your mouth and gestures.
Try to talk in areas that are well lit, quiet, and calm.