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How Hearing Loss Can Affect Your Self Esteem

By Katelyn Parah
Medically Reviewed by Jordan Glicksman, MD, FRCSC, MPH on June 08, 2021
Hearing loss has serious impacts on health—including mental health. Here’s how hearing loss can affect your self esteem.

Hearing loss is a common condition impacting millions of Americans each year. According to the National Institute of Health, one in eight people aged 12 or older have hearing loss in both ears that is detectable by standard hearing assessments. While many people associate it with old age, children can experience hearing impairment as well. But do the effects of hearing loss go beyond just the ears? Read on for important details about the emotional effects of hearing loss. 

Hearing Loss and Self Esteem

There are many different causes of hearing loss. Sometimes people are born with hearing loss, while others develop it after an infection or exposure to loud sounds. Still others experience hearing loss as part of the aging process. Regardless of what causes hearing loss, its effects go beyond the physical body. There are serious mental and emotional effects of hearing loss too, including impacts on self esteem.

Hearing loss has significant effects on daily life, which includes the way you feel about yourself. This can be true whether you are a child, teen, or adult.

“Among younger patients, hearing loss is often misdiagnosed as a learning impairment or other behavioral issue,” Daniel Wasser, MD tells WebMD Connect to Care. Because of this, children and teens may feel like they are a “bad kid” or simply different from their peers, which can impact self esteem.

According to a 2015 article published by Trends in Hearing, some children with hearing loss also experience low self esteem related to communication challenges and physical differences from their peers, such as wearing a hearing device.

Older patients face different yet equally frustrating challenges. A 2018 Plos One article focusing on adult recipients of cochlear implants notes that “deafness and partial deafness appear to be risk factors for lower self-esteem.” The article urges professionals working in the rehabilitation, medical, educational, and employment communities to be aware of this issue, and also emphasizes the importance of therapeutic interventions for this adult population. 

No matter your age, you face the risk of feeling isolated since hearing loss can impact your ability to communicate with others. “It is difficult when those who have hearing issues feel excluded in conversations,” Rebecca Weiler, LMHC tells WebMD Connect to Care. “It may even lead to being left out of social events and outings,” Weiler says.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association notes that anger, denial, isolation, social withdrawal, fatigue, and depression are all common in adults with both early- and late-onset hearing loss. The connection between hearing loss and your mental health is therefore something to seriously consider. Treating your hearing loss could be beneficial for your emotional well-being as well. 

Hearing loss can be managed and treated.

The earlier you address the symptoms of hearing loss, the more likely you are to avoid irreversible damage. Get the answers you need to start treatment today.