Health + Wellness

Here’s How to Reverse the Social Impact of Hearing Loss

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This wellness series on hearing loss is brought to you by nessa™. To learn more about nessa™ and their unique and affordable hearing aid services, visit their website at nessa.asia.


The third of March marks World Hearing Day, an annual event where the World Health Organisation (WHO) seeks to raise awareness about hearing loss. This year, they’re looking to spread the message on the need for immediate action, be it prevention or rehabilitation. The world may be media-savvy, but public awareness of hearing loss and its associated effects is surprisingly low. 

For instance, do you know that hearing loss may lead to cognitive decline and dementia? Recent studies found that people with hearing loss have been associated with up to 40 percent more risk of accelerated cognitive decline. The medical community has taken notice and in fact, clinical trials to study if hearing aids can help to prevent or mitigate brain decline are underway.

If you are unaware of what it means to be affected by hearing loss, then you’ll be glad to know that except for serious cases, the physical impact of losing one’s hearing can be mitigated by technology. Unfortunately, there are many related issues that are not physical in nature. Studies have also shown that hearing loss can affect you socially and be detrimental to your mental health in the long run.

Then again, it shouldn’t be surprising because we can understand that hearing loss also affects one’s co-workers, friends, and family – our behaviour shapes how people perceive us and how they interact with us, and their reaction towards us will influence our outlook.

With that in mind, let’s see how we can better understand the difficulties people with hearing loss face.

Social and Psychological Impact

For those of us fortunate enough to have good hearing, sometimes we might not notice how affected people are inconvenienced.

If you spent most of your life speaking and listening to communicate, then the idea of losing your hearing can be quite shocking. Coming to terms with it is not easy because it goes beyond the ability to hear. Consider these scenarios from someone who is affected by hearing loss:

  • Social isolation 
    Simple conversations that you have taken for granted all your life become more challenging as your hearing worsens. You don’t want to be a bother and ask people to repeat what they are saying all the time, so you start to avoid noisy places that make conversations difficult. Because it’s not always possible to find quiet places, you start avoiding those situations altogether. Before you realise it, you’re isolating yourself from people.
  • Impact on relationships 
    You become more withdrawn because you’re afraid to be caught in situations where people might think you are ignoring them when in fact, you just can’t hear them clearly. As they are unaware, they believe that you are avoiding them and start to leave you alone. That may give you a false sense of relief at first, but with time, that often turns into feelings of perceived rejection.
  • Low self-esteem 
    We can’t operate alone – even if we can do without friends, how can we be effective at work by doing so? Without any comfort from family and friends nor pride from good work, it’s natural to question your self-worth and pull yourself even further away from those whom you view as more successful. This may potentially turn into a vicious, downward spiral.
  • Depression 
    With all that to deal with, it shouldn’t be surprising that there is also a link between untreated hearing loss and depression: studies have shown that those suffering from moderate and severe hearing loss are more likely to suffer from depression.

Thankfully, it’s not an impossible fix. If you notice people having trouble with conversation and starting to withdraw themselves from you, please take the extra step to check on them. Your willingness to reach out may make all the difference in their world.

Family

How to manage and maintain quality of life

If you have been affected by hearing loss and find these situations familiar, then do something about it immediately. The worst thing you can do to yourself is not to do anything.

It is natural to be wary of change. But, while your life may not be exactly the same, you are once again able to live it to the fullest. Regardless of whether you are helping a friend, a family member, or yourself, ensure that these steps are taken:

  • Speak to family and friends openly about it 
    Those dear to you will be more than willing to accommodate. When they know of your condition and that you are seeking treatment, you are no longer under pressure to keep up appearances.
  • Be honest with immediate supervisors and managers  
    Your immediate colleagues, supervisors and management should know as well. It prevents misunderstandings that may affect your working relationships, internally and externally. It also relieves the pressure to keep up appearances.
  • Seek treatment for hearing 
    Even if it’s just a hunch, do not delay in seeking help. A hearing test is painless and can be completed in a matter of minutes. If it is ascertained that you have hearing loss, then hearing aids are most often the solution to improve your hearing and help prevent further damage.
  • Ensure that one is in a good mental state 
    If you’ve been suffering from hearing loss for some time and did not seek treatment for it, do take the additional step to speak with a therapist or counsellor to ensure that you are not suffering from depression.

The fear of saying yes, my body is no longer what it used to be and not wanting to inconvenience others may do more harm than good. However, being able to say, ‘I need help so that I can continue to enjoy life,’ will stop the decline and put you back on track to being the best version of yourself.

There are many well-known people who live fulfilling lives despite suffering hearing loss, and many more who are unheard of. Some here may even surprise you:

  • Bill Clinton
    By publicly wearing hearing aids, the ex-American President helped to change the mindset of fellow baby boomers and encouraged them to come to terms with their hearing loss.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven 
    Even when robbed of the gift of hearing, Beethoven gifted us the famous Ninth Symphony. He was very affected by his deafness, but fortunately had no shortage of friends and associates to support him emotionally.
  • Ayumi Hamasaki  
    The evergreen queen of Japanese Pop music completely lost her hearing in her left ear in 2008. She insisted on continuing to sing, and eight albums later today, she is still going strong.

Friends

In the face of all the potentially damaging effects, it’s empowering to know that we all have the means to take control of the situation. For sure, we can’t do it by denying that it’s a problem. By taking that first step, we would have made the most important one.

And it’s much easier these days. Hearing aids are technologically advanced and are no longer clunky nor difficult to use. They can even be integrated with our lifestyle, linking with televisions and smartphones so we can enjoy media content and conduct conversations better. They also offer conveniences such as easy volume adjustments or preset changes just by swiping and tapping on your smartphone.

If you feel uncertain still, then consider a free hearing test offered by nessa, a forward-thinking hearing solutions company that offers hearing aids via a unique subscription-based model designed to remove the traditional barriers that new hearing aid users face. They believe strongly that the best way to encourage people to use hearing aids is by leveraging technology and know-how to help new users adapt to their hearing aids seamlessly. Their solutions carry an emphasis on affordability, convenience, and comprehensive after-sales care with a human touch.

This wellness advertorial series about hearing loss and how to manage the condition is brought to you by Nessa Hearing. For more information, please visit their website at nessa.asia

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