People with untreated hearing loss use a variety of coping strategies to compensate for their hearing loss. Many of these habits can be destructive and worsen the situation leading to significant communicative difficulties, social isolation, frustration, depression, and delays in treatment. A loved one or caregiver can learn to spot signs of hearing loss by recognizing these subtle habits used to compensate for poor hearing.
Reliance and Enabling
Someone with hearing loss can continue to deny their condition, if they have a family member or friend to rely on. A family member or friend who is constantly asked to repeat, convey, or interpret conversations could be enabling their loved one's denial of hearing loss. In addition to it being a frustrating chore for a family member, loved one, or friend, it can also inhibit relationships. As the person with hearing loss realizes they are "outside" the conversation and he/she becomes less comfortable asking to have things repeated, they begin to withdraw from communicating. Eventually, conversations are initiated only when it is absolutely necessary, leading the hearing impaired to feel left out and ignored. Asking your loved one to take this hearing health survey may help them to recognize their condition and seek help.
Hiring the television volume may seem harmless, but it aids denial as the hearing impaired blames room acoustics, background noise, or speakers mumbling instead of recognizing and treating their condition. In addition, hiring the volume to uncomfortable levels can cause relationship stress and further isolation, as the hearing impaired may use a separate room so as not bother loved ones.
Social rules and conversation cues are an integral part of daily communications. Often the hearing impaired, in a misplaced attempt to make up for their disability, violates social etiquette by talking too loudly, misreading social cues by speaking out of turn or making inappropriate replies. If the hearing loss has not been identified, friends and family may mistakenly associate this behavior with aging or senility. This further isolates the person with hearing loss as they might not recognize their own condition and begin to feel feelings of shame and inadequacy. If your loved one engages in this habit, please take them to have their hearing tested.
Missed Conversation Cues
Hearing loss is subtle, and so too are some of the tactics people engage in to deny or conceal their hearing loss. Like overcompensating, concealing hearing loss can often be interpreted as senility or aging or disconnection. Does your loved one smile, nod, or pretend to understand what has been said to get them over an awkward moment? If so this pretense might get them over an awkward moment, at least to their perception, but it becomes a burden and may lead to depression, low self-esteem, and the avoidance of social situations.
As the tactics used to deny hearing loss begin to take their toll, and the added stress and anxiety takes its toll, the person in denial of hearing loss begins to withdrawal from the world. This isolation leads to severe depression and feelings of worthlessness as people fail to recognize their mistakes and concentration issues are the result of untreated hearing loss. Correcting hearing loss through hearing aids can go a long way to ending these hearing loss strategies and return a loved one to optimal hearing health.
Individuals cope with hearing loss using a variety of destructive tactics. Once a family member, friend, or loved one begins to recognize the tactics he/she is employing to deny hearing loss its important for them to talk to their loved one. On Wednesday we will post ways to bring up hearing loss with your loved, but look here for tips today. It is vitally important for someone with hearing loss to see a physician or an audiologist as soon as these signs or any change in hearing is noticed. An audiological evaluation establishes a diagnosis allowing for appropriate treatment and a return to hearing health. If you need help finding an audiologist click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!