Grief is a normal emotion experienced by all of us sometime in our lives. Working through this feeling in five distinct stages was popularized by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swedish-American psychologist who published On Death and Dying in 1969. Experts suggest that this method can be beneficial for dealing with other losses, not just those of loves one. So what about using it to come to terms with your hearing loss and get used to life with hearing aids?
Stage One: Denial
Since hearing loss is a progressive condition that develops slowly over time, it is easy to tell yourself that your hearing is fine. You may come up with excuses such as someone is mumbling, the phone connection is bad or your ears are stuffed up because of a cold or allergies.
Stage Two: Anger
Once you reach a point where you can no longer tell yourself everything is fine, it is common to feel anger. This may be directed toward the doctor who gave you the official diagnosis or the family members who stopped enabling your denial by refusing to turn up the volume of the TV or repeat themselves.
Working through this anger is important. Talking about your feelings with a trusted friend or a professional can help you move past them and continue on the road toward your treatment.
Stage Three: Bargaining
When you have stopped being angry about your diagnosis, you will likely find yourself in the bargaining phase of your journey. This may involve a lot of online research, trying to find new and unique ways to restore your hearing. You may even make yourself a promise that you will no longer put your ears at risk, vowing to wear hearing protection whenever you are around power tools or at an event.
This research is beneficial and can often lead you to the realization that hearing aids are a good treatment option for your type and degree of hearing loss.
Stage Four: Depression
Living with untreated hearing loss can be emotionally and physically exhausting. It will become increasingly difficult to carry on conversations with friends and family, which can lead to social isolation and feelings of anxiety and depression.
Stage Five: Acceptance
The fifth and final stage of the grieving process is acceptance. While you may not be able to hear like you could 20 years ago, that does not mean there are no options. There are a number of treatments available, including hearing aids and cochlear implants. Once you have accepted your loss, it is time to schedule an appointment with your audiologist to start your treatment journey. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional, contact Hampton Roads ENT today.