Hearing Loss and Mental Health: How to Cope and Thrive this Winter

The winter months can be challenging, but for those with untreated hearing loss, they can be especially isolating. When we struggle to hear and communicate with others, it's easy to feel left out and disconnected from the world around us. This sense of isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and even depression. 


In fact, one study showed that untreated hearing loss can increase the risk of depression in older adults by 40%.


The connection between hearing and mental health is strong. Hearing and speech are vital for our ability to communicate with others and build relationships, which is an essential part of being human. The task of processing the sounds we hear helps keep our brain active. When we lose some or all of our hearing, the part of the brain responsible for this task can atrophy, leading to cognitive decline.


Hearing loss can also have a significant emotional impact on an individual, as it interferes with our ability to communicate and socialize, which are essential for building and maintaining relationships. When we struggle to hear and interpret things clearly, it can make us feel separate from the rest of the world. This can lead to feelings of shame, awkwardness, and inadequacy, especially when participating in everyday casual conversations.


For adults who struggle with hearing loss on a daily basis, mental exhaustion can cause them to withdraw from social situations, such as birthday parties, dinners, holiday gatherings, and other events where large groups of people gather in noisy settings. While this may seem easier in the short term, it can lead to social isolation, loneliness, and depression over time.


If you or a loved one is dealing with hearing loss, it's important to take action. Here are some strategies for coping with hearing loss and depression:


1. Confide in family or friends: Hearing loss can be a difficult and isolating experience, but it doesn't have to be. At Starkey, we believe in the power of communication and the importance of confiding in your loved ones about your hearing struggles. By sharing what you're experiencing with your family and friends, you open the door to understanding and support. Your loved ones can learn how to better communicate with you, such as speaking clearly and facing you when they talk.


2. Visit a hearing clinic: Hearing clinics have audiologists and hearing aid specialists on staff to diagnose and treat hearing loss. They can help you explore all your treatment options, including the use of hearing aids, which can improve your quality of life and reduce the risk of psychological distress resulting from hearing loss. 


Don't delay – early action is important, as untreated hearing loss can worsen. Click here to find a hearing clinic near you and schedule an appointment. 


3. Seek mental health counseling: In addition to therapeutic interventions, consider seeing a therapist who has experience working with adults who have lost their hearing. They can assist you in navigating the grieving process and developing healthy coping skills and strategies. 


4. Surround yourself with knowledge and support: If you or a loved one is dealing with hearing loss, you don't have to go through it alone. There are numerous online resources, like the Starkey blog, that can provide you with information and resources on hearing loss prevention, causes, and treatments. 


Additionally, there are online communities such as Facebook groups where you can connect with others facing similar challenges and share your experience. 


Untreated hearing loss can be isolating and severely impact your mental health. However, it's important to remember that hearing loss can be treated and managed, and resources are available to provide support and assistance. 


Don't let hearing loss hold you back – take action and find the support you need to thrive.




By Starkey Canada