You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. That saying counts even doubly so when it comes down to health. We take things for granted, including the normal workings of our body. And when things go wrong, it really knocks us off our feet. Things such as being able to breathe normally, see clearly, or hear things are so normal we don’t even think about them anymore until there are issues. Surprisingly they will have such a significant impact on our lives, and more importantly, on our mental state. You might feel helpless, depressed, angry, and frustrated. You will be kicking yourself taking things for granted and asking yourself why you didn’t take better care of things.
And for some reason, when we are confronted with things such as hearing loss, we don’t spend enough time to deal with the emotional side of things. We tend to get practical, and that’s fine, in the end with hearing loss you will still have to buy hearing aids eventually, but we will need to deal with other emotions as well.
Some people would say hearing loss is so impactful on the human emotions that it’s comparable to grief. With the loss of something as fundamental as sight or the ability to hear, it could be seen as losing part of an individual. And by looking at it this way, we automatically know we should give people going through the loss of sight or sound the space to process and time to grieve. It will be accompanied by all the expected stages of grievance, such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Allowing yourself to feel
At first, the issue will be classed as a non-issue or only something that is happening because one is tired, and it will pass. Once the realization hits that it’s something that is real and needs to be dealt with, and potentially might not be reversible at all, the anger hits in. This could be anger that is inward directed but mostly will be outward. This is usually an excellent time to give someone space. As soon as the anger has been vented, the bargaining will take place. It’s sort of grasping at straws process where individuals might not always bring the most logical solutions. The next stage is where the individual starts becoming quiet and drawn into themselves: depression. This is the stage where they need the most support. Being there to listen and to be a shoulder to lean on is the best approach here. At the end of the process, there will be, and all the efforts can go into find a solution or getting used to a new status quo.
Where to go from here
The problem of jumping straight into finding solutions is that the person this is happening to won’t fully accept any solution. In fact, not going through the stages of grief will prolong this whole process, with sometimes even far-reaching consequences that will affect the individual for years to come. The advice is to recognize life-changing events such as loss of sight and hearing, to make sure you or others can process it fully so you can work on solutions post-acceptance with the right intent and effectiveness.