Hearing Loss Denial Delays Getting Help
Many people with hearing loss deny their communication struggles for an average of seven years. They reject the truth and refuse to accept what is often obvious to those round them. Sadly, hearing loss denial delays getting help. It stands in the way of dealing with reality and moving on with life. One could say that it is a waste of time.
Among the myths and mantras, there are some frequently-cited “reasons” such as:
a) Hearing loss is for the “old”– and who wants to appear old and feeble? Ageism feeds this mantra and drives procrastination. Yet, many younger people also deal with often noise-induced hearing loss. And so, hearing loss is not only for the “old” anymore. In fact, one in five Americans – aged 12 and over – has some degree of hearing loss.
b) Hearing aids make people look old. Nowadays, hearing aids are sleek and small. Designs vary and some do not look like conventional hearing aids anymore. Hearing loss denial is supposed to serve as an explanation why hearing help is not needed. That said, the fear of not being able to afford hearing aids also encourages denial.
c) Hearing loss is invisible. Certainly, those with hearing loss do not look any different from others as they stand in a crowd. While the internal ear damage that leads to hearing loss is invisible to the eye, the effects that it has on behavior and mannerisms eventually become very visible.
d) Hearing loss is easy to hide, which it is not! This is another version of “denial.” People pretend to hear and understand when they do not. They bluff their way through conversations and meetings, which can lead to embarrassing social moments and to errors at work.
When denial becomes toxic
Denial is a way of protecting oneself from unpleasant things. Hearing loss is one of those unpleasant truths. Eventually, people believe their own deception. They slip into depression and isolation. Every aspect of life is affected by hearing struggles.
After a while, it becomes easy to accuse “others” for feeling excluded and marginalized. Why does everybody mumble? Nobody asks me to go to lunch anymore! Relationships are negatively affected. And so, the consequences of denial become easily toxic – not only for those with the hearing loss but also for those around them.
Don’t waste time and move forward!
After years of denial and inaction, it is time for radical acceptance. The hearing is what it is!
Hearing loss is like any other health condition. To make helpful decisions, one has to admit to the importance of learning about the condition and of getting relevant data and information. A professional hearing test is an excellent start. The results provide details regarding the type and degree of hearing loss and give guidance on treatment choices and other assistive help.
And so, yes! Hearing loss changes every aspect of life. While this can be seriously upsetting, it is important to know that there is a way forward – but denial is not part of it. Instead, hearing loss denial delays getting help and finding answers at a time when the goal is to accept the obvious for continued productivity and quality of life.