Unless you’ve experienced it firsthand, it’s hard for individuals to understand exactly what those with hearing loss experience. And it is just as hard for people with hearing loss to explain the uncomfortable emotions they are feeling.
Let’s take a look at nine things only people dealing with hearing loss will understand.
The uncomfortable emotions of hearing loss
When our hearing starts diminishing, the process is typically gradual. We might occasionally miss a word or take a moment to register a friend cheerfully calling across the grocery store parking lot. Generally, these changes are subtle to those around us.
However, as hearing loss advances, a range of uncomfortable emotions may surface. Common feelings include fear, shame, anger, grief, loneliness, and a sense of regret. It becomes crucial for individuals experiencing hearing loss to discover coping mechanisms and respond effectively to these emotional states.
By actively acknowledging and understanding one’s feelings about hearing loss, better management strategies can be developed.
The emotion of fear serves as a protective mechanism, alerting us to potential future dangers. Yet, when fear is disregarded, it can lead to isolation, particularly in individuals who let fear dictate their withdrawal from once-enjoyed social activities.
By acknowledging fear as a natural and healthy response to lifestyle changes, especially those associated with hearing loss, we gain clarity in contemplating the necessary actions we may need to undertake.
Regardless of its logical basis, shame often emerges when we recognize a decline in our ability to perform tasks as swiftly or proficiently as before. To avoid embarrassment, it helps to redirect our attention to our strengths and our capacity to responsibly confront and address the challenges posed by our hearing loss.
Frustration, irritation, and even anger may arise as we navigate the adjustments required in life with a hearing ailment. Responding to these understandable feelings with compassion and patience allows them to pass through us in their natural course.
The process of accepting hearing loss typically involves experiencing some degree of grief. Despite the significant assistance provided by hearing devices in restoring auditory function, there are certain aspects where we must acknowledge and release what once was. This can be a gradual, yet essential, process.
5. Loneliness and isolation
Hearing loss frequently brings about a feeling of isolation and a retreat from activities once enjoyed. Individuals with a hearing ailment may steer clear of specific social events due to concerns about becoming burdensome or facing judgment.
This self-imposed isolation can result in emotions of loneliness and a sense of detachment from others. By practicing kindness and compassion toward ourselves during this journey, the grip of loneliness can gradually diminish.
As our hearing diminishes, a sense of regret may emerge, whether rational or not. This regret may cause you to blame yourself not using earplugs during activities like hunting or attending loud concerts in our younger years. We may also feel regret for factors beyond our control, such as not being aware of the significant impact loud music could have on our ear health.
Regardless of how challenging or overwhelming the hurdles of hearing loss may be, practicing patience can significantly improve the situation.
While it’s common to think of others being patient as you adapt to a different lifestyle, this patience is primarily about being kind to yourself. Provide yourself with the space to adjust to the learning curve and allow room for errors and mistakes.
By granting yourself the patience required to navigate new challenges, you not only ease your own journey but also inspire those around you to do the same. Individuals with hearing loss understand the transformative impact of a little patience.
Self-compassion is crucial during the adjustment period. The various emotions such as fear, shame, anger, grief, loneliness, isolation, and regret can potentially lead to a spiral into depression if not managed.
By creating a sacred space for yourself to experience these emotions without self-judgment, you not only foster your own well-being but also inspire your loved ones to offer similar support.
Regardless of whether you’re struggling with changes in hearing or any other new challenge, showing love and acceptance for yourself precisely where you are can have a profound impact.
At times, individuals with hearing loss might experience feelings of separation, difference, or burdensomeness to those they care about. Regrettably, it’s often their own insecurities that hinder them from fully embracing the joys of life, leading them to inadvertently distance themselves from others. Cultivating self-love can prevent this from becoming a reality.
Take care of your hearing
We each have battles going on inside of us that others know nothing about. With those battles comes a responsibility to protect our most precious asset: our hearing.
Be sure to get your hearing checked even before you think there’s a problem. Find a hearing specialist near you to schedule a hearing test.