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The Mental/Emotional Effects of Hearing Loss

By Kristen Gasnick
Hearing loss can affect more than just your ability to hear sounds. The mental and emotional effects of hearing loss include anger, denial, depression, anxiety, isolation, social withdrawal, and fatigue.

Hearing loss can affect more than just your hearing. The mental and emotional effects of hearing loss include changes to your self-esteem and the way that you interact with others.

How Hearing Loss Affects Emotional Health

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, hearing loss can have a negative impact on your emotions. Some of the effects of hearing loss can include:

  • Anger and denial. Losing your hearing can be a drastic change to your everyday life that can be a difficult adjustment to get used to, causing feelings of anger. It is also common for people with hearing loss to be in denial about the severity of their hearing loss because it is a change that is hard to accept.
  • Depression and anxiety. Losing your hearing can make you feel like you lost part of your identity and can cause feelings of sadness and depression. Symptoms of depression can include crying, slowed responses, weight changes, and disrupted sleeping patterns. Hearing loss can also be anxiety-provoking. “When someone with hearing loss is faced with having a conversation with someone else...it can create a lot of stress and worry that they are going to miss parts of the conversation and let on that they are struggling to hear,” Rhee Rosenman-Nesson, AuD, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
  • Isolation and social withdrawal. It is common to avoid situations where it is difficult to hear in order to avoid feelings of stress, anxiety, and embarrassment about your hearing loss. Isolation and social withdrawal can also lead to feelings of depression or make them worse. “The frustration of not being able to hear in these situations may lead people to avoid going out in public or meeting up with family and friends, which can sadly cause them to become socially isolated,” Paul K Farrell, AuD, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
  • Fatigue. Losing your hearing can make you feel tired or fatigued because straining to hear properly demands more of your energy. “People with hearing loss often feel physically exhausted at the end of the day from the strain of trying to hear and make sense of what people are saying because of all the additional work that is involved in hearing,” Rosenman-Nesson says.

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.