Age related hearing loss affects both the personal and social life of a hearing impaired person. Additionally, it can cause problems with communication within the family and in the workplace. Usually, this leads to feelings of frustration and loneliness. The majority of old people with hearing loss also have other medical conditions or disabilities such as diabetes, sight loss, dementia etc. Communication difficulties as a result of unmanaged hearing loss can cause a problem for people who are seeking treatment and support for other health conditions. Hearing loss can lead to stress, isolation from society and mental health issues. It increases the risk of depression and cognitive decline.
It is unfortunate that seeking help for hearing loss is often delayed due to concerns over social stigma and acceptance of the natural ageing process. This delay often results in making adaptation to the condition's treatments more difficult and compounds the challenges and expectations of the user. Had an earlier intervention been sought, the resulting benefit of treatment would be far greater not only in the short term but for the life of the condition.
Adjusting to hearing loss is usually less difficult at an early age and for older people with a close partner or family support, than for those living alone or in a nursing home. Social and family support is associated with greater levels of independency in function and with effective hearing aid use. Most of the factors related to effective adaptation to hearing loss are predominantly more psychosocial than physical. They include a higher training level, positive attitude and self-confidence. But the level of hearing loss or hearing aid style is not that important. It's the addressing of the issue for the hearing impaired person which is significant and it's leading to an intervention in the workplace.
Hearing impaired employees often face demanding communication situations. The stress and noise level of the work environment may interfere with the use of assistive cues that would otherwise facilitate effective communication. The lack of ability to clearly understand speech may be interpreted as an indication of a cognitive decline or of a poor work performance. If some co-workers are intolerant of those with hearing loss, their attitude may provoke feelings of insufficiency and anxiety on the part of the employee. Also, the listening environment may change promptly, from telephone conversations to open places with various voices and sound sources in a less than perfect acoustical environment.
From hearing aids, through to lip reading classes, and then counselling and support in communication, hearing impaired people can benefit from a range of services. However, if an appropriate solution is not found at an early stage, then the problem can cause a decrease in the quality of life and isolation. Thereby, early addressing of the issue can be less costly and improve communication with friends, family and in the workplace. Individual motivation is the leading force for people with hearing loss to accept their condition early and enhance their quality of life.