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Gail Linn, MA, CCC-A
The PsychoSocial Aspect of Hearing Loss
Potomac Audiology

The PsychoSocial Aspect of Hearing Loss

The “PsychoSocial Aspects of Hearing Loss”, sounds so academic and esoteric. Academia likes to measure it, analyze it, perform calculations on it, but the person with a hearing loss, lives it every day.
As an Audiologist who has been working with hearing impaired individuals for 25 years, I have been aware of the struggles my patients face. But it wasnt until I took a class, “PsychoSocial Aspects of Hearing Loss”, while working on my doctorate, did I feel it in a real way. My professor, Dr. Michael Harvey, wrote two books with chapters on individuals he has counseled who have hearing loss. He helps you feel what those individuals feel.
Why is it important to understand the PsychoSocial Aspects of hearing loss? For those of us who dont have a hearing loss, we need to be more sensitive and understanding of our friends, loved ones and acquaintances that do. For those of you who do have a hearing loss, it is good to know that you are not alone. And there are things that can be done, Dr. Harvey shares many examples of success.
What are some of the psychological aspects of hearing loss?
1. Isolation Theres hardly anything worse than sitting around while everyone is talking and having no idea what is being said. When theres laughter and one or two in the group look at the person with the hearing loss, he or she may think people are laughing at them. For those that are born with hearing loss, we all know that children can be cruel. Often these children face ridicule and teasing from their classmates and friends.
2. Depression People with hearing loss often isolate themselves from social situations, because they are too uncomfortable. Every relationship is affected to a greater or lesser extent by the degree of hearing loss. Depression occurs for many when they dont get the warm and fuzzies that we all need to feel good about ourselves.
3. Frustration Hearing a joke only to miss the punch line is one complaint that I have heard from my patients over the years. They recall that everyone is laughing and they dare not ask to have the punch line repeated. So they laugh with everyone else, hoping that no one asks a question to reveal theyre faking it.
These are just a few of the psychological aspects of hearing loss. However, it should be noted, not everyone with a hearing loss feels isolated, depressed or frustrated, but many do. If you or someone you love has a hearing loss you may want to read two compassionate books by Michael A. Harvey, PhD.; “Listen with the Heart Relationships and Hearing Loss” and “Odyssey of Hearing Loss Tales of Triumph.” These books are available in my office for check out. I have many copies available, but you may want to call and reserve one before you come in.

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