The Silent Health Issue: The Impact of Hearing Loss
Updated: May 27, 2021
I've been an audiologist for 30+ years now, and I've seen the tremendous impact hearing loss can have on one's safety, work-life, and relationships with others. Here are some of the primary ways hearing loss can impact one's life.
Hearing loss can impact someone's safety because many emergency cues and alerts are audible. Those with substantial hearing loss may not be able to hear sirens. They may not pull over right away for a police officer. They may not hear someone coming up behind them or sleep through a fire alarm. Some products help with these situations, but it's a challenge that those with good hearing don't have to think about in their daily lives.
Hearing loss is something that has the potential to impact an individual's work performance. Conversations and instructions may be misinterpreted and influence an individual's relationship with their boss and coworkers. Additionally, work performance can suffer due to misinterpretations, stress, and not speaking up in meetings. This can also apply to students and their schoolwork. Hearing loss in the workplace can also become a safety issue, especially in warehouse environments.
Communication & Relationships with Others
Communication is key to any relationship, but especially in our friendships and family life. If someone with hearing loss is asking their partner to repeat themselves multiple times, frustration begins on both sides, and the ability to connect becomes more difficult. As seen the most in elderly patients, when someone is embarrassed about their hearing loss, they may start to withdraw from conversations and stop participating in family events. Often, we see grandma or grandpa sitting in the corner of the room, not interacting with anyone unless someone approaches them. Not participating, especially for highly social individuals, can have a detrimental impact on their quality of life.
Speech can also be impacted by hearing loss because individuals with hearing loss cannot monitor their voice volume. Often this means they'll speak loudly. If their high frequencies are affected, their articulation may suffer as well.
What Can Help?
Many things can be done to assist with hearing loss, the easiest of which is hearing aids. If someone believes they have hearing loss, the best next step is to schedule an appointment with an audiologist to determine what options are available to them and their specific hearing loss.
Our goal is to help people hear, so they can fully participate in their lives and the lives of the people they love. If you or a loved one is ready to prioritize your hearing health, reach out to us today!