Starting a conversation about hearing loss is very rarely easy, especially the first time. If this is your first attempt to talk to someone about your concern for their hearing health, it probably won’t end successfully. This is not to say that you should not try however, it typically takes a person with hearing loss between five to seven years before seeking help. Don’t give up! The more conversations you have, the greater the chances a person with hearing loss will find acceptance and be ready to get the hearing help they need.
5 Stages of Hearing Loss
Stage #1 of Hearing Loss: Denial
The most difficult part of understanding hearing loss is that hearing loss is invisible. Because you cannot physically see hearing loss, it can be much easier for people with hearing loss to dismiss the signs and symptoms of hearing loss. Many people living with mild to severe untreated hearing loss will go through a serious of feelings, including denial, redirection to other issues and blaming hearing struggles on various other reasons, such as “He/she keeps mumbling”, “the volume is too low,” etc. This is denial. An official diagnosis of hearing loss can leave some people in a sense of shock or disbelief. This is all normal and is a temporary emotion. As with a variety of other healthcare diagnosis, the denial will subside and often another emotion will replace the it.
Stage #2 of Hearing Loss: Anger
It helps to remember that people who are suffering from untreated hearing loss have lost a primary human ability. It is quite common and normal for this loss to be mourned, sometimes creating anger and frustration at the thought of this loss. As human beings, we commonly take our frustration out on the ones we love the most. A person dealing with hearing loss might resent other people for not immediately understanding and changing their habits to accommodate for their hearing loss. It is also common for a person struggling to hear feels that the world is unfair and unjust. These feelings can sometimes be harmful to mental health and suggest seeking some help from a mentor or trained hearing health professional for hearing loss counseling.
Stage #3 of Hearing Loss: Bargaining
Like many other healing processes, the bargaining stage allows the person with newly diagnosed hearing loss to try to move past the anger in the hopes of preventing the inevitable. Bargaining is a stage of grief. This stage is grief is private and might only be shared with a close friend, pastor or confidant. No matter the case, bargaining should not be ignored because it could lead to guilt, stress or anxiety or even more anger. The best way to be supportive to a person with hearing loss is to be available and comforting to this person. The support and acceptance from family and close friends can make all the difference to a person with hearing loss.
Stage #4 of Hearing Loss: Depression
There are no two-ways about it. Hearing loss is a challenge. It’s a challenge for people living with hearing loss and for those living around people with hearing loss. People with hearing loss often miss out on funny or important conversations, resulting in feelings of sadness and isolation. Social isolation and loneliness are contributing factors of depression. Financial worries, such as job uncertainty or the cost of hearing care and hearing aids, can also contribute towards anxiety and depression. How can you help? Find a hearing healthcare professional who can help alleviate these worries and create a hearing healthcare plan that works of this persons’ lifestyle, hearing loss levels and budget. Getting hearing healthcare help will allow a person with hearing loss to join in on conversations both socially and professionally, as well as function independently again.
Stage #5 of Hearing Loss: Acceptance
Generally speaking, people processing grief will eventually come to acceptance. There is no set time period. Acceptance happens when a person is ready. Acceptance of any loss takes time and this acceptance might not be permanent. People with hearing loss may go back and forth with several emotions before achieving acceptance. When a person with hearing loss does accept their hearing loss, life gets easier. Hearing loss is a challenging experience to accept. Some people struggle through many complex emotions. If this sounds like you, a friend or a loved one, please know this is all part of your internal process of understanding a difficult diagnosis. It is part of processing the loss.
Meet the Physicians Hearing Solutions Team
If you suspect you or a loved one are living with a hearing loss, call Physicians Hearing Solutions (401) 921-0181 today for a FREE, no-obligation hearing screening. Once the hearing screening is complete, an Audiologist and National Board-Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist will meet with you to discuss your results. This is a hearing counseling session for you to gather information about your hearing loss and to create a plan for your hearing healthcare moving forward. There is no office-fee and no obligation. It’s important for you to know what hearing healthcare options are available to you and what that looks like for you regarding lifestyle and budget. We are here to help our patients explore hearing healthcare options and improve their quality of life. Call today so see how our hearing healthcare professionals can help improve your life.