Psychology of Hearing Loss
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It seems pretty obvious that hearing loss has pretty
significant psychological effects on people. Fortunately, scientists are
finally starting to study these effects on people with hearing loss who
are not Culturally Deaf.
April 2013 - Bloch Healing Touch
Psychotherapy for People with Hearing Loss
February 2013 - Straining to Hear and Fend Off Dementia
June 2012 - Untreated Hearing Loss Can Lead To
Depression, Social Isolation
June 2012 - People With Good Hearing Have Better
February 2012 - Study Draws Connection Between Good
Hearing, Good Self-Esteem
January 2012 -
What do we really know about hearing loss and
January 2012 -
Hearing loss and dementia: protecting yourself from a
December 2011 - The chicken and the egg: Cognitive decline and hearing loss
December 2011 - Study Shows Hearing Aids Improve
Quality of Life
August 2011 -
Stigma and Self-stigma Associated with Acquired
Hearing Loss in Adults
July 2011 - HLAA
Convention: Surviving the Stress of Hearing Loss: What You Can Do
February 2011 - Dementia Symptoms Include Hearing
December 2010 -
Holiday Season Can Be
Especially Difficult for People with Hearing Loss
October 2010 - Link between Hearing Loss and
July 2010 - Hearing Loss: A Threat to Mental
July 2010 - Hearing Loss in Older
Adults - Its Effect on Mental Health
July 2009 - 2009 HLAA
Convention: Dementia Misdiagnosis and Hearing Loss
July 2007 -
Here's our report on
the stress management workshop from the 2007 HLAA convention.
July 2007 - How to
Avoid Unhealthy Responses to the Challenge of Hearing Loss - Presented by
Terry and Denise Portis at the 2007 HLAA Convention
July 2007 - 2007 HLAA
Convention Research Symposium: Adapting to Hearing Loss and Quality of
Life: A Psychosocial Look at the Effects of Hearing Loss
2007 - Psychotherapy
Quiets Concerns Over Ringing in the Ears
October 2006 - ALDAcon
2006 Presentation - Coaching and Late Onset Hearing Loss - A Partnership
July 2006 - Why People Delay Dealing
with Hearing Loss
March 2006 - Here's Jim Lemonds'
very insightful article on how hearing loss affects people, and on some
of the things we can do to reduce the impact of hearing loss.
December 2005 - People who have not experienced sudden
hearing loss are generally unable to imagine the impact it can have on a
person's life. But it's easy to imagine that the assistance of a good
coach might be crucial in helping someone overcome that experience. Here's
Bonnie O'Leary's report on a 2005 SHHH Convention workshop on this topic.
2005 - Here's a report on Susan Roberts'
"Positive Thinking and Hearing Loss" workshop, presented at
the 2005 SHHH-CA Convention
August 2003 - Here's
an absolutely fascinating discussion of some of the psychological
aspects of hearing loss. The discussion took place on an email list
that focuses on hearing loss and the workplace.
2002 - Those of you who were fortunate enough to attend ALDACON 2002 in
Orlando, FL, probably got to experience Dr.
Harvey's Keynote Address firsthand. For the less fortunate, here's
the text of the address. It's very powerful stuff!
2000 - In her 1969 book entitled "On Death and Dying", a
renowned Swiss-American psychiatrist named Elisabeth Kubler Ross
presented the five psychological stages that terminally ill people go
through - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It was
later realized by professionals and laymen alike that people often
experience these same stages as they cope with other losses. Of
particular interest to us, of course, is the fact that people respond to
their hearing loss with these same emotions. Grieving
Over Hearing Loss explores these similarities.
August 2000 - Edna Shipley Conner presented a workshop
on the Successful Coping Attributes of the Hearing Impaired at the 2000
SayWhatClub conference. Here is a workshop summary.
this and related topics
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Over the past few years, Dr. Lin has delivered
unwelcome news to those of us with hearing loss. His work looks "at the
interface of hearing loss, gerontology and public health," as he writes on
his Web site. The most significant issue is the relation between hearing
loss and dementia. In a 2011 paper in The Archives of Neurology, Dr. Lin
and colleagues found a strong association between the two. The researchers
looked at 639 subjects, ranging in age at the beginning of the study from
36 to 90 (with the majority between 60 and 80). The subjects were part of
the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. None had cognitive impairment
at the beginning of the study, which followed subjects for 18 years; some
had hearing loss. "Compared to individuals with normal hearing, those
individuals with a mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss, respectively,
had a 2-, 3- and 5-fold increased risk of developing dementia over the
course of the study," Dr. Lin wrote in an e-mail summarizing the results.
The worse the hearing loss, the greater the risk of developing dementia.
The correlation remained true even when age, diabetes and hypertension -
other conditions associated with dementia - were ruled out.
Competing schools of thought exist on the effects
of hearing loss on cognitive function. Studies reporting an association
assert that declines in sensory acuity limiting the flow of information to
the brain cause declines in cognitive abilities. But other studies
reporting no association have argued that the decline in sensory acuity, a
peripheral decline, does not necessarily affect central function. In some
cases, an individual may become more resourceful and tap into more
cognitive resources to compensate for the reduction in sensory input,
leaving researchers perplexed about whether there is an effect. From the
studies I reviewed, variability in study design appears to contribute to
inconsistent results, such as those that included research participants
with well-fitted hearing aids that compensate for hearing loss. Results
were also confounded by researchers who employed different methods to
quantify hearing loss or who failed to account for demographic factors
that may have affected cognitive function.
If you are of a certain age and have some gray in
your hair, you will likely find yourself a victim of ageism. As with all
"-isms," ageism is the practice of making assumptions about a person's
intelligence and abilities based solely upon superficial facts-in this
case, age-and taking actions based upon those assumptions. This leads to
misconceptions, biases, and mistakes. So, how does this affect you?
When ageism is coupled with hearing loss, it can be a dangerous
combination in medical and emergency situations. It is not unusual for
people with a hearing impairment to end up in an ambulance and/or an
emergency room without anyone being aware of their hearing loss.
In 2010-2011, the Ida Institute (www.idainstitute.com)
and its faculty-which included Leslie Jones, PhD, Patricia McCarthy, PhD,
Christopher Lind, PhD, and Jean-Pierre Gagné, PhD-organized a series of
seminars on the theme Living Well with Hearing Loss. This venue provided
the faculty members with an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of
"living well with hearing loss." Because of their academic and research
interests, it was obvious to the authors of the present article that, for
many individuals, a major obstacle to "living well with hearing loss" is
the social and self-stigma associated with hearing loss. In order to live
well with hearing loss, one must recognize and accept hearing loss.
Specifically, many people must overcome the misplaced shame and poor
self-esteem that they may experience. Only then is it possible to seek
solutions to the difficulties attributable to their hearing loss
experienced in everyday activities. Once this is achieved (if ever), they
can extend their audiologic rehabilitation (AR) goals to activities that
they identify as components of living well.