Most people have heard of the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. However, not many people realize that these stages occur with hearing loss too. The link sounds morbid but it makes sense.
The great news is when you’re clued up and aware of the five stages of hearing loss you’ll be able to get through it and reach a positive outcome much more quickly.
How do these five stages of hearing loss translate in your day-to-day feelings and reactions to the situations you find yourself in? We’ve put some examples together to help you figure it out:
In this phase you may not realize you have a hearing problem:
“Why is everyone mumbling?”
“There must be something wrong with my TV, the audio is so low.”
It’s common for people to skip social gatherings they used to enjoy or avoid group conversations because they can’t hear what people are saying. You might begin to question your hearing but feel too afraid or embarrassed to admit it to others.
OK, there’s definitely something wrong with your hearing. You know it and it isn’t fair:
“Why is this happening to me?”
“Why can’t people just speak more clearly?”
“I can’t believe I didn’t use hearing protection at work, now I’ve ruined my hearing.”
This phase is important. You can’t do improve your hearing situation without realizing there’s a problem. Many people will feel angry about their hearing loss. If this anger falls on those around you it can cause problems in your relationships and make your life even more difficult. This is a great time to seek help from an Audiologist who can figure out what your hearing problem is and improve your hearing situation.
Bargaining & depression
In this stage, you may be focused on how wonderful life would be if you could hear. This phase helps you to accept your hearing loss and confirms the importance of getting it sorted. However, it can be a difficult time bringing up feelings of guilt, blame, and sadness.
You’re fed up of feeling sorry for yourself. Now it’s time to get back on track.
“I can do something about this.”
“It is up to me to make this better.”
You might research other people’s hearing loss journeys and figure out how you can start to make things better. This is often the time when people finally make their first appointment for a hearing test. It can take a lot of courage, but it’s the right thing to do.
Learning, management, and enjoyment
Acceptance and action don’t mean your worries are over. During the first stages of treatment with an Audiologist, you might feel frustrated because your hearing aids don’t give you an instant fix. Hearing aids take time to get used to. Be patient. With the right treatment, hard work, and persistence you will become happy with your hearing management.
It’s helpful to accept that your hearing will never be the same but it will be better than having no treatment. Aside from your hearing aids, try a lip reading course to make your life a little easier. Ask others to help you by being clear when they talk, or by meeting in a quiet location. You’ll soon be socializing and enjoying life again.
Get help and support
If you or someone you know is struggling to hear, now’s the time for a hearing check. Don’t wait till all the stages have run their course. The sooner you or your loved one get help and support from an experienced, caring Audiologist, the sooner a new life can begin.
Dealing with hearing loss is about learning to live in a new, different way. There’s lots to learn and it might be daunting. But, with the help of an audiologist, and support of family or friends, you can have a better quality of life again.
Audiologists like our experts here at Cornerstone are here to give you all the information, support and care you need to get back on track. Book in with our award-winning Audiologists today to see how we can help.
Dr. Hubik is the owner and founder of one of West Texas’ most trusted and professional hearing providers, Cornerstone Audiology. She received her bachelor of science degree in communication disorders as well as her doctorate of audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). In her youth, Dr. Hubik became interested in helping people with hearing loss to communicate more effectively and therefore pursued a degree in this field. Dr. Hubik was born and raised in Anton, Texas and appreciates working with the people of West Texas. She and her team are proud to serve the hearing needs of their community.