When it comes to hearing loss, we often focus primarily on the physical aspects of the problem, but hearing loss also has an emotional side. If you have a loved one experiencing hearing loss, it is important to be mindful of what he or she might be feeling.

Denial. As your loved one first starts to experience a hearing problem, denial is common. Your loved one may turn the TV volume up to accommodate or accuse the people who are speaking of mumbling or speaking too quietly. This is a time when family and spouse relationships can be strained as frustrations start to run high and communication breaks down.

Anger. Your loved one may also experience anger. The frustration from missing conversations builds and builds. He or she can grow tired of asking for others to repeat what is being said and may instead harshly lash out or seem ornery. This too can further break down relationships and isolate your loved one as family and friends try to avoid.

Loneliness. It can be isolating and lonely when you can’t hear well. With each day, communication becomes harder for your loved one. He or she may have trouble following the conversation around the table, hearing the sermon at church or listening on the telephone. Your loved one may even be ashamed or embarrassed about hearing loss and choose to withdraw from certain social situations, compounding the feeling of loneliness.

Depression. There is a strong link between untreated hearing loss and depression in adults. As your loved one’s hearing lessens so does self-esteem. His or her connections with others become limited and the hearing problem starts to dictate what he or she can and cannot do.

Our hearing is connected to our physical and emotional health. Recognize that your loved one is experiencing not only the loss of hearing but also a range of difficult emotions.