Hearing Loss, End of Life and Grief

woman with hearing loss experiences grief

The loss of someone close to you can be an extremely painful experience. Sometimes the loss is sudden. Unfortunately, too often, the end of life is preceded by significant health problems that may necessitate frequent trips to the hospital. These visits often require meetings with any number of health care professionals. While some healthcare professionals communicate effectively with hard of hearing individuals, many do not. The patient, their advocate, or both will need to understand what is happening. They may be asked to make difficult decisions about a patient’s healthcare treatment. An already stressful, anxiety-inducing situation is bound to become much more difficult when one or both have difficulty hearing.

If the worst happens, consultations and arrangements with religious persons or funeral directors will need to be made. Family, friends, and neighbors will come to visit. Often in large, albeit respectful but ultimately noisy groups. And instead of their presence being a source of comfort, they unwittingly add to the stress. The chaos of the group makes the entire experience more difficult for the individual with hearing loss to understand what’s being said.

Grief is a natural response to a loss. We all process grief differently. But a common thread running through the grief process is sharing grief with those closest to us. We need to feel that we are being understood and that we understand those with who we share our grief. Unfortunately, individuals with hearing loss are faced with having to process their grief alone. Their inability to communicate effectively makes it too stressful to share stories and absorb words of comfort.

If you or someone close to you is struggling to hear, please don’t wait. Our need to communicate effectively doesn’t always occur in a setting within our control. Please take the first step, call our office for an appointment today.