Coming to Terms with Your Hearing Loss

Coming to Terms with Your Hearing Loss

Bonnie L. Baehr, Au.D.

When you lose anything in life that you have come to rely on, it can be painful. Letting go isn’t easy and can lead to intense grief. Some days you may feel fine when out of the blue, grief can take over your emotions. It is a normal part of the human experience, which almost every person has to deal with at some point in their life. When you first start to realize that you have hearing loss it can be painful to come to terms with. The only way to move through these feelings of loss and grief is to deal with them head on. Understanding the emotional arc, you are going through can be a useful and healing way to process your hearing loss. Based on Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s “five psychological stages,” we can process how we feel when we come to terms with hearing loss.

Stage 1: Denial

Hearing loss often develops over time, especially as you age. In fact, it is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults. Approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. Even if you know the odds of keeping your hearing intact when hearing loss sets in it is common for people to make excuses for their hearing loss rather than admit that might be a problem. You may not even notice as slowly over time you no longer hear the sounds of birds chirping outside until someone else remarks on it. If you struggled to hear people speak it is easy to blame it on others for mumbling or not speaking clearly enough. Often it is a loved one who first points out that you may have a hearing loss.

Stage 2: Anger

When you finally come to the point when you can no longer deny your hearing loss and know for sure you have a problem, people commonly move to the next stage of this grieving process. You might resent the fact that you have developed this disability, have to spend more time with doctors and more money on hearing aids. It is common to resent the family members who are constantly reminding you that you have an untreated hearing loss. This next stage is anger and what a powerful emotion it can be. Anger not dealt with, can cause rifts in your most precious relationships. Even though this constant nudging from family members can be annoying it is important to remember that this push to seek professional help is an act of love and care, as it can lead to ultimately an easier life of healthier hearing.

Stage 3: Bargaining

As anger subsides the reality of hearing loss starts to set in.  Perhaps you amend to start wearing hearing protection in environments in which your hearing could be compromised. If you are just starting to do this then it is important to remember that there is no fixing your original hearing. This is called the bargaining stage.  It may be too late to fix your original hearing but fortunately there are solutions to hearing loss that can make living with hearing loss easier than expected. If you are living with age related hearing loss, then the good news is that you are a perfect candidate for hearing aids.

Stage 4: Depression

It’s normal to be depressed about your hearing loss. When you struggle to hear in your daily conversations it can be exhausting and just easier to stay home and isolate. Knowing that our hearing isn’t what it used to be can be incredibly depressing. That is why it is so important to treat your hearing loss as soon as possible before depression can truly take hold

Stage 5: Acceptance

After you have moved through the first four stages of grief you may be finally ready to accept that you have hearing loss in your life. Along with this acceptance is the power to take action and treat your hearing loss.  Contact us at Beverly Hills Hearing Center to make an appointment for a hearing test if you haven’t already. Get ready to live with hearing aids and hear your life again.