Even though hearing loss is the 3rd most common health issue for Americans, some people initially delay seeking a solution because they still reject the notion that they have a hearing deficit. Their negative psychological reactions upon receiving a formal diagnosis may include:

Denial. If your hearing has declined gradually, you may have trouble believing you have a problem. Often others will notice your problem before you do. You may be resistant, believing that the issue really is that people just need to speak up or quit mumbling.

Anger. A natural reaction that may be directed at others – such as your audiologist or family and friends. Hopefully this phase is brief.

Bargaining. Because you are not ready to accept it, you might have postponed having a diagnostic hearing evaluation. Typical excuses are: “My hearing isn’t that bad!” “People just need to speak clearly!” “I’ll wait until it gets worse.”

Grieving. Grieving for what has been lost is natural. You may become increasingly upset about communication breakdowns and the need to ask others to repeat themselves. Since this often disrupts conversations, you may elect to “fake it.” Over time you being to withdraw socially.

Acceptance. As you learn to accept your hearing loss, you may be ready to seek treatment. And you may wonder why you put it off so long. While treatment won’t return your hearing to perfect, it should help you feel less frustrated, withdrawn – and better equipped to live life to the fullest!