Effects of hearing loss and how it impacts daily life

Part 5 in a series of articles from Maryville University.
Original Article Here: https://online.maryville.edu/blog/hearing-loss-types/#3-types-hearing-loss

The negative impacts of both gradual and sudden hearing loss make seeking treatment important. People experiencing hearing loss should contact a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment.

Hearing loss affects more than an individual’s ability to hear. The effects of hearing loss are functional, social and emotional, and economic.

Functional effects of hearing loss

The functional effects of hearing loss extend to an individual’s ability to learn and work.

Inability to communicate

Hearing loss creates challenges for people as they attempt to communicate with others. This difficulty with communicating can create obstacles to developing and maintaining personal and professional relationships.

Difficulty with learning and working

Because communication plays a key role in learning and working, hearing loss can create problems in those areas. Hearing loss — which can make hearing and using sounds like “s,” “sh,” “l,” and “k” difficult — can lead to effects ranging from hampering academic achievement to disrupting vocational choices.

Increased need for assistance

Students and employees experiencing hearing loss may struggle to get the assistance required to address their challenges. The accommodations required to help ensure success for those with hearing loss are not always available. Assistive devices for hearing loss include tools such as captioning, telephone amplifiers, and flashing and vibrating alarms.

Decline in cognitive function

Hearing loss can lead to a lack of stimulation in the senses that affects the brain’s health. Left untreated, hearing loss can increase the risk of dementia as individuals age.

Stress-related stomach pain

The stress related to hearing loss-related challenges can lead to stomach pain and other health issues. Without treatment, hearing loss can cause stress-induced symptoms such as cramps, pain, diarrhea, and constipation or even longer-term issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Loss of balance

Hearing loss and balance problems are symptoms of ear diseases such as Ménière’s disease. Additionally, hearing loss decreases awareness of one’s surroundings and also can affect brain function for tasks including maintaining posture — which can increase the risk of falls.

Social and emotional effects of hearing loss

Hearing loss has social and emotional effects as well. Difficulty communicating with others can lead to feelings such as:

  • Embarrassment
  • Loneliness
  • Isolation
  • Frustration

Hearing loss, particularly when it is chronic, can be linked to anxiety disorders, postpartum depression, and mood and seasonal affective disorders.

The following tips can help those experiencing hearing loss to communicate more effectively: tell your friends and family; position yourself to hear others speak; turn off background noise; ask others to speak clearly, not louder; get the other person’s attention before speaking; choose quiet settings; and consider using an assistive listening device.

Economic effects of hearing loss

The WHO estimates that economic effects of hearing loss total $750 billion annually. Among the costs associated with hearing loss are:

  • Healthcare, including hearing devices
  • Educational support
  • Lost productivity
  • Societal costs, including lower-quality education and greater unemployment

The lack of educational support is especially pronounced in developing countries, where children with hearing loss often receive no schooling. Lower-quality education, or no education at all, leads to greater unemployment and underemployment.

If you think you or someone you love may have a hearing loss, call us today to schedule a free hearing test!
ASI Audiology & Hearing Instruments – 855-663-4044