Overcoming the Emotional Toll of Hearing Loss
Learn Everything You Can About Hearing Loss
Living with hearing impairment can be overwhelming, in part because there's so much to learn. If you or your child has been diagnosed with hearing loss, be sure to explore:
- Communication options that are appropriate for your type of hearing loss
- Treatment options such as hearing aids or cochlear implants
- Educational options based on the severity of your hearing loss
- Hard of hearing (HOH) and hearing loss networks in your area
- Ongoing hearing tests and follow-up
"You shouldn't expect to understand everything all at once," says Oyler. "There's a steep learning curve when it comes to hearing loss." If you have questions, ask your audiologist or doctor. Find other reliable sources of information in books and online.
Celebrate Your Triumphs Over Hearing Loss
Because living with hearing loss isn't easy, it's important to celebrate your successes, even small ones. For instance, parents of children with profound hearing impairment sometimes find it useful to keep a journal, so they can mark progress as children learn to speak or sign or adjust to treatments like cochlear implants. "It's easy to get discouraged," says Oyler. "A journal can help give you a realistic sense of how far you've come."
Don't Go Untreated
It may take a little while to find the right treatment. Often people need time to adjust to treatments like hearing aids or cochlear implants. But sticking with it and finding the best solution for your hearing loss is important for your mental and physical well-being. Studies show that untreated hearing loss can lead to depression and anxiety, among other psychological disorders. For older people, hearing loss has been linked to an increased risk of age-related dementia. The better you can communicate, the more engaged you will be, both mentally and socially.