Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss Everyday Struggles

Hearing loss is challenging as you’re faced with a lot of difficulties. Those who have loss of hearing experience mental health concerns. Because of the partial or complete decline of their ability to listen, disorders like depression, schizophrenia, substance abuse, and anxiety are some causes that those with hearing loss are facing every day.

“[Those with hearing loss] certainly understand that they’re outsiders in the hearing world, and no matter how good their skills at speaking and lip-reading, they may never completely fit in,” writes David Ludden Ph.D.

There's a struggle to interact with other people
Source: flickr.com

Understanding Hearing Loss

How Hearing Loss Impact People

People who have hearing loss also find it difficult to communicate with their care providers as sometimes, lip-reading isn’t enough. The communication gap is the issue, and there are only a few providers who are equipped with sign language. How can those with hearing impairment be fully understood when they cannot express themselves vocally, or people they are trying to communicate with have limited skills? Even those with a voice, find it hard to process their emotions. What more for those with complete hearing loss?

“Prior to diagnosis and learning that their child may have hearing difficulties, parents often have difficulty understanding the needs of their baby,” writes Robert T Muller Ph.D.

Hearing Loss Statistics

About 15-26% of the population will experience hearing loss but to have a complete disorder even before learning the spoken language is such a challenge. Nearly seven in 10,000 people have a loss of hearing, and their only way to communicate is through sign language.

In the world today, wherein hearing is a valuable sense, struggling to fit in and function well along with stress and prejudice may lead to developing mental health issues like depression or substance abuse in the deaf community.

Hearing Loss In Children

There are also students who have a hearing loss that also suffers from developmental delays and Autism Spectrum Disorder, among others. Deaf children who have difficulty communicating with their families can also be affected by mental health issues. What’s worse is that these children are also more likely to be deprived of when in school and become a victim of sexual assault.

“Deaf and hard-of-hearing populations experience abuse about one and a half times more frequently than those without hearing difficulties,” writes Mellissa Withers, Ph.D., M.H.S.

Seeking Mental Wellness Services For People Who Have Hearing Loss

People who have hearing loss find it difficult to obtain mental health services. In a small study with 54 respondents, more than half of respondents with these difficulties weren’t able to see and access the services that they needed for healing.

There are also times when people with an impairment who have mood disorders are underdiagnosed due to the following:
    • Lack of experienced sign language interpreters
    • Things getting astray in translation
    • Differentiation in how deaf people display their feelings to a mental health professional

Supplement Hearing Loss

You can’t substitute reading and writing for spoken language. Hearing loss can significantly affect vocabulary. Lip reading to communicate with those with hearing impairment isn’t accurate either with only 26-40% of adults being able to lip read.

Hearing issues: prompter doing sign language
Source: moody.af.mil

People with hearing loss who participated in the studies said that they prefer professionals with hearing difficulties to give them counseling services. The problem is that there are not many specialists who have deafness to cater to people with hearing loss. In case you run out of ideas, you may try chatting with a BetterHelp psychologist.

The only way to deal with hearing loss is to keep on moving forward. Losing one’s hearing is a lifelong challenge.

The only way to deal with hearing loss is to keep on moving forward and adapt to the best of their abilities.

How The Hearing Loss Community Should Be Differentiated

Mental health professionals should also know how to differentiate when a person with hearing loss shows their feelings as compared to those who aren’t. For people who can hear, pounding on the floor may seem like an act of aggression, but for people with hearing disabilities, this is a standard way to get attention. Those who have hearing loss also rely on showing strong expressions of feelings as these small details indicate their change of mood. This must be noted.

know how to differentiate when a person with hearing loss shows their feelings

a deaf boy communicating via sign language. He communicate with limited skills
Source: airforcemedicine.af.mil

An Issue Among People With Hearing Loss

A study concluded that people with hearing loss have a fear of being misunderstood. The participants in the study stated that there are times when they were misdiagnosed.

With that, the best people to assist those who have hearing loss with mental health issues must also have hearing loss, as well. The National Association of the Deaf has more information on this matter. Professionals with little to no experience in working with people with hearing imapirment should be careful in treating them.

Final Thoughts: In A Nutshell

Hearing loss is no joke. Despite several mediums that can assist with communication, a lot of people with hearing loss are still struggling to interact with other people. This leads to psychological problems that worsen their conditions. Hence, there should be more programs and tools to be developed to help the deaf community to lead better lives.