02 July 2010

Untreated hearing loss may cause social and psychological problems

It is commonly known that untreated hearing loss may have negative social and psychological effects on a hearing impaired person.

Reactions differ from person to person, but most hearing impaired people suffer from some social and psychological problems as a result of their hearing loss. Some hearing-impaired people even experience physical problems because of their hearing loss.

According to a survey carried out in the US, hearing impairment among baby boomers adversely affects their relationships with their adult children. Almost half of the adult children believed that their parents' hearing loss had affected their relationships. One in three of the younger generation stated that their hearing impaired parents miss out on important things in their lives.

An Australian study found that hearing aids improve social relations, including the users' love life, and make intimate conversations easier. More than half of the respondents stated that their hearing aids improved their social lives. Two in every three said that their hearing aids helped them overcome difficulties in connecting with family and friends.

Finally, a Dutch survey has found that young people with hearing loss are more prone to a decline in psychosocial health than older hearing impaired people.

Starting to use hearing aids

When you start using hearing aids, you may also experience social and psychological challenges. A large proportion of people trying to adapt to using hearing aids for the first time believe that their devices send a variety of signals about them to the world around them. This perception greatly affects their thinking when considering whether or not to wear their hearing aids. Only a minority view their hearing aids first and foremost as a technical means to improve hearing. These findings were described in a scientific dissertation titled 'Coping with emergent hearing loss' by anthropologist Susanne Bisgaard.

The dissertation also found that if you consider technology as something you can influence and control, you are more likely to be successful as a hearing aid user. If, on the other hand, you perceive technology and your hearing aids as foreign objects outside of your control, you will need more patience in adapting to them, and your likelihood of success will be less.

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