In this video, Deborah Touchette, Au D. Doctor of Audiology talks about the many implications of hearing loss. She says that people with hearing loss think that the only problem is that they are unable to hear certain sounds normally. But there are actually other side effects to it. One of the most important is having difficulty with memory as most of the energy goes into hearing information rather than retaining it in memory. Another fallout of hearing loss she says is these people start avoiding situations which they feel will be difficult for them. This includes interaction with family and friends or going to church or restaurants.
A very important problem Deborah feels is loss of balance when they feel disoriented when out shopping or on hikes in the woods. This physical limitation is also because of hearing loss.
This is why Deborah and her team encourage patients to evaluate their hearing power so that they do not face these problems. Doing so will certainly prevent physical, emotional and social side effects.
Deborah Touchette, Au.D.
Doctor of Audiology
When most people think of hearing loss, they think of an inability to hear certain sounds normally. They might ask for people to repeat themselves or they might miss things in their environment like bird chirping or the microwave timer. But what people don’t often realize is that there are other side effects connected with hearing loss. Some of them are difficulty with memory. If you are having to work harder simply to hear the information, you don’t have as much energy left over to remember the information that you’ve heard. And so often times people don’t realize that some difficulties with memory could actually be the result of not hearing as accurately or as well.
Hearing loss can also be connected to some emotional issues. Many people who have hearing loss become concerned about missing information, there’s a certain anxiety involved with that. They may not be sure of some things happening in their environment that they are not aware of. Somebody who might call or come to the door or maybe a family or a friend who needs help. They may not be able to hear that person calling to them.
The hearing loss affects social situations where someone with hearing loss becomes concerned that they are not going to be able to communicate effectively, they may not know if someone is talking to them, they have difficulties following the conversation. And so they begin avoiding those situations. They don’t go to church or bible study, they don’t meet with friends at restaurants or in groups, and often times in family gatherings they just kind of remove themselves, they don’t participate as actively.
When you are not able to hear accurately, it can affect your balance. Your awareness of the environment, where you are in space, where things are around you, they feel disoriented if they are in a busy environment like out shopping or hiking in the woods. And so they are actually physical limitations that can result from hearing loss.
So for all of these reasons, we encourage patients to find out what is happening with their hearing before they experience any of these problems. It may be that there is nothing that needs to be done but having a baseline and knowing what the health of your hearing is can certainly prevent some of those physical, emotional and social side effects that we don’t always typically associate with hearing loss.