Hearing impairment may, for some people, result in psychological disorders.
By itself, a loss of hearing lowers the quality of life, and for most hearing impaired people the hearing loss has psychological, physical and social consequences. In some cases, however, hearing impairment may have more severe effects.
For the hearing impaired, trying to keep up in conversations and overcoming the anxiety of being in social settings may be so stressful that it may result in psychological disorders.
It varies from person to person, but according to the Hearing Journal, a hearing loss may worsen a variety of disorders such as:
Recurrent, unexpected panic attacks; can be situation induced.
Persistent fear of social or performance situations in which embarrassment may occur.
Obsessive compulsive disorder and/or personality
Recurrent behaviours severe enough to be time-consuming or cause marked distress or significant impairment.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor. Example: Vietnam vet fitted with hearing aids hear the roar of a helicopter triggering an emotional response.
Anxiety in different forms
Due to medical illness, psychological effects or general anxiety that do not meet criteria for any specific anxiety.
If you are hearing impaired and recognise some of the symptoms described, you should contact your physician.
Source: The Hearing Journal, April 2002, Volume 55, No. 4
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