Hearing loss is a condition that is commonly trivialized and overlooked by younger and middle-aged Canadians. People often underestimate the devastation that disabling hearing loss can bring to one’s life.
One of the main impacts of hearing loss is on the human’s ability to communicate with others. For family members, learning how to communicate with a hearing impaired person can be very difficult at times. Human-to-human communication is critical for an individual’s social and emotional health. Being unable to communicate with others may result in feelings of anger and frustration, which can lead to feelings of aloneness and depression – especially among older individuals. These negative emotions can push away family members, friends, and co-workers and can cause people to feel further isolated.
An individual’s inability to communicate can affect learning and even employability. A younger adult with mild to severe hearing loss may have less success in the classroom. Even more, an adult with hearing loss may have more trouble in the workplace because of his/her inability to effectively participate in meetings or conferences.
If hearing loss can alter an individual’s social, emotional, psychological, and even financial health – why do we not treat hearing loss with greater concern?
Part of the problem is that hearing loss is invisible and usually takes decades to develop, or years in the case of workplace hearing loss. The effects of hearing loss are not fully realized until it is too late and cannot be reversed. Teenagers and young adults often listen to music at excessively high volumes without concern for the future. Although these volumes may show no immediate harm, they most definitely will down the road.
Our lack of concern for hearing loss also stems from stereotypes associated with people who wear hearing aids. People do not want to feel “old,” so they reject and deny the possibility of their hearing loss – a reaction which only perpetuates the associations between hearing loss and old age.
Hearing loss is a serious health condition that affects numerous aspects of an individual’s life. Hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed of or laughed at. If you want to help, donating hearing aids can be helpful to many who are trying to improve their hearing.
Sources: who.int, bclocalnews.com