Communication is the essence of life. Whether we communicate through written word, spoken language, body language or just a smile – we communicate daily. It is communication that “colors” our world, “seasons” our day. The lack of communication (or impaired communication) affects an individual in a variety of ways – denial, anger, frustration, embarrassment, depression, isolation and/or withdrawal.
The anger and frustration of hearing loss are often directed at others, many times the people they are closest to will be the biggest targets. Anger and frustration seem to be exceptionally prevalent when the individual suffering from the loss of hearing is in denial. “ I hear fine, you just mumble”, or “If everyone would just talk right – I would do O.K.”
In many cases, the individual with reduced hearing is aware that they are having trouble, but are not yet ready to admit it to others. They experience frustration when trying to visit in small groups, and are embarrassed when they can’t follow the conversation. The loss of hearing can begin to affect their desire to visit or interact with others, and they begin to withdraw and feel isolated, even depressed. Even simple tasks like checking out at the store or conducting business at the bank can cause frustration and embarrassment. An unfortunate and sad reaction is withdrawal. The individual who is having trouble communicating with others begins to avoid people, avoid situations that they feel might be frustrating or embarrassing. Perhaps they drop out of leadership roles in organizations / church. Sometimes, they stop attending public events and want to make excuses for not attending gatherings of family or friends. The frustration and embarrassment often result in a feeling of isolation, and can lead to a feeling of depression and loneliness.