Skip to content Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Persons



Better Hearing Institute 

The intensive listening effort demanded by untreated hearing loss can be extremely stressful.

Experts believe that even if you have just a mild hearing loss that is not being treated, cognitive load increases significantly.

Research shows that when left unaddressed, hearing loss is frequently associated with other physical, mental, and emotional health issues that diminish quality of life.

Withdrawal from social situations, a lessened ability to cope, and reduced overall psychological health are just some of the conditions associated with unaddressed hearing loss. Often, people with untreated hearing loss feel angry, frustrated, anxious, isolated, and depressed.

A 2014 study, in fact, showed that hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of depression in adults of all ages, but is most pronounced in 18 to 69 year olds.  Another study, conducted in Italy, looked at working adults—35 to 55 years of age—with untreated mild to moderate age-related hearing loss and found that they were more prone to depression, anxiety, and interpersonal sensitivity than those with no hearing problems.

Read more  . . . hearing loss

By Marla Dougherty   6/28/11

I looked forward to attending the interactive workshop led by Ellen Rupert and Donna Wayner, PhD. Ellen is a self-employed training consultant and Donna is an audiologist and president & CEO of Hear Again, Inc.

Those of us who contend with hearing loss are well aware of the daily stress that goes with it. This workshop was intended for individuals who are hearing impaired and their spouses or family members, to help them identify individual stressors and then develop a personal action plan.

Donna Wayner gave us a brief overview of stress and emphasized that being and staying connected was vital. When our hearing is altered it can result in isolation and withdrawal and it will impact our behavior, emotions and relationships. 

We understand we have extra stress dealing with communication issues so what can we do different? To start, we were asked to write down our sources of stress and three things we were already doing to relieve stress. Then we broke up into groups. Family members with no hearing loss were in one large group and those of us with hearing loss in several smaller groups.

The different groups brainstormed strategies to reduce stress by comparing notes and listing three things that relieve stress. From this we developed our personal action plan to manage stress. Our group agreed that quiet time, exercising and taking advantage of captioning were good stress busters.

Ellen and Donna brought all the groups back together to review action plans to help us cope for effectively. The groups with hearing loss shared first:

- Advocate for yourself
- Write, blog, etc.
- Join hearing loss support groups
- Enjoy a massage
- Meditate often
- Get involved in a hobby
- Spend time with pets and go for a walk

The folks with no hearing loss came up with a similar list but they also included these:

- Exchange ideas about communication strategies
- Name frustrating things, release it and move on
- Remember good times

And my personal favorite which is a technique we practice at home: Whoever asks the question in the house goes to the other person!

We wrapped up with a short relaxation exercise focusing on our breathing and doing progressive muscle relaxation.