People with untreated hearing loss are likely to experience anxiety and fear. When these responses and emotions set in, it can leave individuals feeling stressed or anxious. It may also lead to insomnia or the inability to sleep.

Hearing loss affects a person’s ability to communicate with others and feel a sense of belonging and connection in a group. Following the shifts in conversations can be very difficult given the fluid nature of discussions with family and friends. People with hearing loss feel that they are on the outside of the conversation. Some may even feel worried that others are talking about them.

Impaired vision, diminished hearing can lead to less brain stimulation, another risk factor for a decline in thinking skills. It’s also possible that by making the brain work overtime to process the signals it is getting from the ears, hearing loss pulls away energy from the “thinking” parts of the brain.

The stress associated with interacting with others when hearing impaired can lead people with hearing loss to avoid social interaction and consequently become socially isolated and lonely. Some ways to support more human connection and, therefore, mood include treating hearing loss with a hearing aid, learning sign language and encouraging family members to do so too, and joining a hearing loss/sign language support group to build a sense of community with others struggling with similar experiences.