When the World Falls Silent: Effects of Hearing Loss

When the World Falls Silent: Loss of hearing tends to creep up on people. As a rule, others will notice it before those directly affected. Elderly people in particular are affected by this gradual impairment. The brain has the job of interpreting what is heard. If, as a result of the loss of hearing, only 60 per cent of the information reaches the brain, the brain must either guess or make up the missing 40 per cent. With increasing age, the brain finds this increasingly difficult.

Social consequences

Studies have shown that people with hearing loss who do not use a hearing aid tend to socialize less. Even telephoning and TV viewing becomes a challenge. Over half of those questioned experience a sense of loneliness and a poorer quality of life. They find it difficult to concentrate and suffer more from sadness, anxiety and disquiet. Wearing a hearing aid allows the hard of hearing to enjoy better relations within the family, to have greater self-esteem and to feel more independent and secure.

Physical effects

Among the physical effects of an uncorrected hearing impairment are, often, tiredness, exhaustion, headaches and muscular pains, dizziness, stress, hypertension, eating and sleep disorders, and stomach trouble. Moreover, the brain can "unlearn" the habit of hearing, making subsequent treatment or correction more difficult.