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How hearing loss affects your emotions

Impacts of hearing loss

The psychological effects of untreated hearing loss for both children and adults can include increased outbursts of anger, low self-confidence, frustration, embarrassment and depression. Adults may experience periods of sadness and grieving as their ability to hear diminishes. They also may feel more fatigued, as the struggle to hear and understand can be physically exhausting.

When left untreated, hearing loss can affect:


Adults with hearing loss have difficulty participating fully in conversations at work, home and in social situations. Children with hearing loss, especially those younger than six months, have difficulty learning important language skills that normal hearing children learn by listening to language spoken by family members.

Social interaction

Hearing loss progresses slowly and, over time, people who have it tend to begin withdrawing from social situations that prove too challenging. This could mean avoiding the happy hour after work with colleagues, cutting your family dinner short or skipping out on your weekly bridge game. All of these things together can lead to isolation and loneliness.


According to a study by the Better Hearing Institute, untreated hearing loss affects productivity, performance and career success. When hardworking professionals feel the lack of confidence that can come from not being able to contribute during meetings, hear clearly the important instructions from the boss or understand all that was said on a phone conference, it can lead to feelings of insecurity. These feelings can prevent you from realizing your true potential on the job.

Family relationships

Children with hearing loss may have trouble articulating their feelings, which makes communication frustrating for family members. Adults may feel they aren’t being heard and become isolated and depressed. Family members who have loved ones with untreated hearing loss say they sometimes experience feelings of frustration, annoyance and sadness. All of these put a strain on family and romantic relationships.

“Brain scans show us that hearing loss may contribute to a faster rate of atrophy in the brain,” Lin says. “Hearing loss also contributes to social isolation. You may not want to be with people as much, and when you are you may not engage in conversation as much. These factors may contribute to dementia.”

As you walk, your ears pick up subtle cues that help with balance. Hearing loss mutes these important signals, Lin notes. “It also makes your brain work harder just to process sound. This subconscious multitasking may interfere with some of the mental processing needed to walk safely.” 

Possible impacts of hearing loss
  • Decreased attention
  • Diminished understanding of speech
  • Trouble communicating with others
  • Diminished memory
  • Less willing to embrace the unknown
  • Declining job performance
  • Lack of acknowledgement by others
  • Irritability, stress, depression
  • Withdrawal from social life, isolation
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