Published on December 15, 2022

How Hearing Loss and Mental Health Are Connected

Hearing impairment is a form of disability and is a condition caused by aging, genetics, illness, or noise pollution. This condition can have a strong link with how a person thinks and behaves. Knowing more about this connection can help you understand how the loss of hearing affects a person’s mental state.

The Connection

Speech and hearing are important parts of communication. A smooth flow of exchanging information results in strong relationships, which helps you lead a full life. Hearing loss can disrupt the flow of this exchange. Even if the hearing loss is mild, the condition can still affect your ability to interact with other people. As a result, if you suffer from hearing impairment, you may find it devastating to deal with.

Losing the sense of hearing can be mentally exhausting, which is a major reason for people with this condition to feel despair. People with hearing impairment would then resort to self-isolation, as avoidance would seem to be the easiest way to escape feelings of inadequacy, shame, and awkwardness. Skipping family gatherings and other significant social events in noisy environments may seem to be the only way to deal with hearing impairment.

However, cutting off your connection to the world around you can affect your mental health. Without making connections with those around you, you may put your overall well-being at risk of deteriorating.

Ways Hearing Impairment Affects Mental Health

A person’s mental health can deteriorate because of hearing impairment. Failure to hear what is happening in the world around you can trigger negative emotions, leading to unpleasant behaviors. Here are some ways hearing impairment can impact your mental health:

  • It can trigger anxiety about missing alarms and phone calls, mishearing what others are saying, and feeling guilty about misunderstandings in interpersonal communication.
  • Focus becomes difficult. Hearing and processing the information that you hear keeps your brain active. If you lose your hearing, the area of the brain that processes information starts to regress, making it a challenge to concentrate and think.
  • It results in isolation and severe loneliness. This is often caused by sensitivity to dopamine.
  • It leads to emotional distress. Most people regard those with hearing impairment as mentally slow. If you have this condition and internalize this negative reaction, it can make you agitated.
  • A person with a hearing impairment tends to grieve, dealing with the loss of something very important. Grieving about your hearing loss can lead to anger and sadness before you arrive at acceptance of your situation.

Mental Disorders Linked to Hearing Impairment

A person who loses the ability to hear will face various struggles. Avoiding social situations may seem to be the logical thing to do rather than deal with the awkwardness and embarrassment that comes with a hearing impairment. Research reveals that people with hearing impairment tend to develop mental disorders:

  • Studies show that hearing impairment tends to trigger and fuel anxiety. Constantly worrying about people judging or misunderstanding you can be challenging.
  • Dementia can happen more often in adults with deafness than in those who have normal hearing. The decline in cognition comes from the deterioration of the part of the brain that processes information. Self-isolation can lead to a faster cognitive decline as well.
  • Problems with achieving restful sleep can arise from the feelings of anxiety that come with hearing impairments. 
  • Depression with suicidal thoughts can result from hearing impairments. The isolation and inability to understand other people can make you feel unwanted and helpless.
  • Hearing loss may sometimes lead to psychosis,  a mental disorder involving delusions or auditory hallucinations. Psychosis may stem from the brain’s inability to process information correctly.

Losing Your Hearing Can Affect Your Mental Health

A normal sense of hearing helps you absorb and process information. It allows you to respond appropriately to various situations. Losing this vital sense can be devastating for anyone. Identifying and understanding the effects of hearing impairment can help you cope better and find ways to overcome the challenges of this disability.

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