Nearly everyone that experiences hearing loss goes through these five stages. If you or someone you know is in the midst of these stages, it’s important to recognize the stage and work through it. The more quickly someone gets through the stages, the more quickly they will be able to get the help they need: hearing aids.

Here are the five stages of hearing loss:

  1. Denial

At this stage, a person denies that they have hearing loss. They claim that others mumble or that the TV speakers just aren’t working the way they’re supposed to anymore. Even though part of them recognizes that there is a problem with their hearing, they refuse to admit that it’s their ears that are the problem and they refuse to get help or even tested.

Unfortunately, this stage can often last for years as people simply don’t want to admit that they might be losing their hearing. It can also be the most difficult stage to get through because if someone isn’t willing to admit that they have a problem, they can’t get help for it. Sometimes, people in this stage admit to having hearing loss but deny that it’s enough of a problem that they need hearing aids for it.

  1. Anger

Once a person admits that they have hearing loss, they may go through an angry stage. This is especially true of people who were generally careful with their hearing throughout their life and therefore don’t know exactly what caused their hearing loss. They may even be mad at themselves or their parents if hearing loss is genetic, as they feel like their body is failing them.

  1. Bargaining

At this point, someone experiencing hearing loss may find themselves desperately asking God (or some other higher power) to make a deal with them. They promise to only listen to old hymns if God will only restore their hearing and desperately look for other ways to compensate for their hearing loss instead of heading to their local hearing center as they should.

  1. Depression

As hearing loss becomes more severe, it can be hard to communicate, which leads may people who have hearing loss to simply close their blinds and stay away from the rest of the world. They avoid going to parties and other social events because it’s simply too hard to attend when they’re having trouble hearing everything that’s going on. This leads to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression.

Because hearing loss also means not being able to hear some of the simple things in life that people enjoy such as listening to music, hearing a bird sing, or watching your favorite television show, prolonged and untreated hearing loss can quickly lead to depression. This is because it makes it hard or sometimes even impossible to enjoy the things you once did. Unfortunately for many people, they spend far too much time in this stage.

  1. Acceptance

At some point, most people who have hearing loss will come to terms with it and accept that hearing loss is a part of their lives that they have to now deal with. This is by far the best stage to be in, because once hearing loss is accepted, something can be done about it. For most people, that means visiting an audiologist to have their hearing tested so they can begin the process of getting hearing aids.

Hearing aids are more effective when they are put in as early as possible when it comes to hearing loss. However, because many people take so long to go through the five stages of hearing loss, they are often faced with a longer and more difficult journey back to being able to hear well. Although everybody should be allowed to go through their own process as needed, help from family members and friends could get them the help they need much sooner.