Hearing loss isn’t something to feel ashamed about and it shouldn’t lend itself to having a negative self-image or feelings. Hearing loss is unfortunately becoming increasingly common so if you are experiencing difficulties with your hearing, you really aren’t alone.
In 2015 it was found that more than 11 million people across the UK experienced hearing loss of some kind – this equates to 1 in 6 of the UK population. It is also predicted that by 2035, this number will rise to 15.6 million, meaning 1 in 5 people will have hearing loss.
Left untreated, studies have found that the effects of hearing loss can lead to irritability, anger, negativity, tiredness, tension, depression and stress. Hearing loss can also have many psychological implications ranging from feeling shame to low self-esteem. In addition to this, there can be a physical impact of hearing loss including headaches, increased blood pressure, stress and tense muscles.
But thankfully, hearing loss is becoming far less debilitating in everyday life. More than 24,000 people across the UK use sign language as their main form of communication. Additionally, around 6.7 million people are able to benefit from hearing aids.
With the advances in technology there are now many ways of dealing with hearing loss – from hearing aids to wax removal; tinnitus treatment to custom-made ear plugs and assistive listening devices. It is far more common now for people to wear hearing aids and it is certainly not something to feel ashamed or concerned about.
There is a physical and social impact of hearing loss; especially as it can be hard to be in situations where lots of people are talking or there is loud background noise. It can also be difficult to chat with people over the phone or from afar and also challenging to continue life in the same way as you did before hearing loss. This can feel frustrating, isolating and embarrassing – but it shouldn’t mean you aren’t able to lead a normal life.
Getting help for your hearing loss will enable you to follow a conversation with your family and friends in a noisy setting, thanks to wearing a hearing or assistive listening device. In exchange for a small plastic device with the potential to reduce any feelings of isolation that will surround your hearing loss, you will be able to continue your normal relationships and say yes to those invitations you had previously turned down.
Similarly, being able to listen to things you find enjoyable and pleasurable, such as the radio or television, should far outweigh any concerns you might have about wearing hearing instruments. These devices are often small and hard to notice so people won’t realise you are wearing one unless you make a point of mentioning it.
The right solution for your hearing difficulties is out there to help improve your hearing, boost your confidence and help you lead an active and normal life.