Hearing’s Contribution to Quality of Life

Hearing’s Contribution to Quality of Life

By Anne Reap

Quality of life can be defined as, “your personal satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the cultural or intellectual conditions under which you live (as distinct from material comfort).  For example, “the new art museum is expected to improve your quality of life”.

Quality of life is a broad multidimensional concept that usually includes subjective evaluations of both positive and negative aspects of life. What makes it challenging to measure is that, although the term “quality of life” has meaning for nearly everyone, everyone can and will define it differently. Although health is one of the important domains of overall quality of life, there are other domains as well—for instance, jobs, housing, schools, the neighborhood.

Impaired hearing results in a diminished ability of the listener to communicate. Unfortunately diminished hearing does not just impact the “health” domain of quality of life but negatively impacts every almost other domain as well.  The research presents a compelling picture of the overall impact that a hearing loss has on an individual’s quality of life and indicates that hearing loss is associated with the following:

  • Embarrassment
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Tension and stress
  • Anger
  • Avoidance of social activities
  • Withdrawal from social situations
  • Depression
  • Negativism
  • Danger to personal safety
  • Rejection by others
  • Reduced general health
  • Loneliness
  • Social isolation
  • Less alertness to the environment
  • Impaired memory
  • Less adaptability to learning new tasks
  • Paranoia
  • Reduced coping skills
  • Reduced overall psychological health

For those who are still in the workforce, an uncorrected hearing loss has a negative impact on:

  • Overall job effectiveness,
  • Opportunity for promotion
  • Lifelong earning power

We’re not always sure why the average person waits 5 to 7 years to do something about their hearing loss, but a glance at the list above should tell you that, that is probably not a good idea.