Hearing loss is challenging as you are faced with a lot of difficulties. Those who have hearing loss experience mental health concerns. Because of partial or complete loss of their ability to hear, mental illnesses like depression, schizophrenia, substance abuse, and anxiety are some of the that those with hearing loss are facing every day.
People With Hearing Loss
“[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.
Hearing Loss Communication
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 loss 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 hearing loss?
Hearing Loss Sentiments
“Prior to diagnosis and learning that their child may have lost hearing, 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 complete hearing loss even before learning the spoken language is such a challenge. Nearly seven in 10,000 people have lost hearing, and their only way to communicate is through sign language.
Hearing Loss Struggles
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 amongst the hearing loss community.
Hearing Loss in Children
There are also students who have hearing loss that also suffer from developmental delays and Autism Spectrum Disorder, among others. Children with hearing loss who have difficulty communicating with their families can also be affected by mental health issues. What’s worse is that these children with hearing loss are also more likely to lose when in school and become a victim of sexual assault.
Hearing Loss Experiences
“Deaf and hard-of-hearing populations experience abuse about one and a half times more frequently than those without hearing loss,” writes Mellissa Withers, Ph.D., M.H.S.
Hearing Loss Services
People who’ve lost hearing find it difficult to obtain mental health services. In a small study with 54 respondents, more than half of respondents with hearing loss weren’t able to see and access the services that they needed for healing.
Hearing Loss Underdiagnosis
There are also times when people with hearing loss who have mood disorders are underdiagnosed due to the following:
- Lack of experienced sign language interpreters
- Things getting lost in translation
- Differentiation in how people with hearing loss display their feelings to a mental health professional
Lip Reading To 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 loss isn’t accurate either with only 26-40% of adults being able to lip read.
Hearing Loss Psychological Services
People with hearing loss who participated in the studies said that they prefer professionals with hearing loss to give them counseling services. The problem is that there are not many specialists who’ve also lost hearing to cater to people with hearing loss. In case you run out of ideas, you may try chatting with a BetterHelp psychologist.
Hearing Loss Journey
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.
Hearing Loss FAQs
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 lost hearing. For people who can hear, pounding on the floor may seem like an act of aggression, but for hearing-impaired people, this is a standard way to get attention. Those who have lost hearing also rely on showing strong expressions of feelings as these small details indicate their change of mood. This must be noted.
People With Hearing Loss Who, Because Of Hearing Impairment, Experienced Mental Health Issues
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 with working with people with hearing loss should be careful with their hearing impairment.
Conclusion on Hearing Loss
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 hearing conditions. Hence, there should be more programs and tools to be developed to help the hearing loss community to lead better lives.