Hearing Loss Damaging to Mental Health

Deaf Awareness Week – Monday 14th May-Sunday 20th May

There are 11 million people with hearing loss across the UK, that’s around one in six of us, and the figures are only increasing with an estimated 15.6 million people predicted to be affected by 2035. Deaf Awareness Week, which begins on Monday (14th), aims to raise awareness of not only those who are affected by hearing loss but to highlight the warning signs of hearing loss and what you can do to help yourself.

Whilst not being able to hear clearly can be frustrating and having to turn the TV up loud or asking people to repeat themselves is annoying, the effect on mental health is profound and can run a lot deeper. Many people with untreated hearing loss attempt to self-manage their problems by withdrawing from situations where they can’t hear, leading to social isolation, depression, anxiety, loneliness and anger.

In a study run by the National Council on Aging of 2,300 hearing impaired adults over the age of 50 it was reported that those suffering from hearing loss were 50% more likely to experience depression.

“There is still a stigma around wearing hearing aids and so we find that people commonly put off a hearing test on average for seven to 10 years, which means that there are millions of people suffering in silence unnecessarily,”

said Simon Wendland, Audiologist at Imperial Hearing.

“We’re working on breaking that stigma with the help of Deaf Awareness Week and encouraging people to regularly visit an audiologist as part of their well-being routine, it should be as common place as going to the opticians. Hearing aids are often the solution and the preconception of hearing aids is extremely different to the reality, they used to be big and obtrusive but now they are so discreet that no one would even know you suffer from hearing loss anymore.”

To alleviate the risks of significant mental health problems associated with hearing loss in the over 50’s, raising awareness and encouraging everyone to be more mindful of their own hearing is the first step. If you often have to ask others to repeat themselves, turn the TV or radio up loud or if it appears others are mumbling or you find group conversations difficult, simply going to have a hearing test can be the first step to hearing clearly again and improving your mental health.

Hearing health checks are available at all Imperial Hearing Centres across the Midlands, South West and South Coast. Find your nearest one by visiting https://www.imperialhearing.com/hearing-centres/.