Being Deaf, hard of hearing, or experiencing gradual hearing loss, can have a big impact on your life, affecting your sense of self and relationships with your family, friends, and at work. In some cases, this can result in feelings of frustration, isolation, and confusion. After all, people who are Deaf or hard of hearing encounter issues and social problems differently than the rest of the population.
For example, studies show that 11% of those with hearing loss also have depression. It is most prevalent in those between the ages of 18 and 69. That figure is more than double the number of those in the general population that struggle with depression.
Those who are Deaf or hard of hearing also have difficulty accessing much needed mental health services like counselling. It can be extremely difficult to find a counsellor that is fluent in American Sign Language.
If this is your experience, you are not alone. Ignoring uncomfortable feelings might seem easy, but talking to a counsellor about what you’re experiencing, someone not emotionally involved in your life, can be life changing.
Everyone, even seemingly happy people, can benefit from counselling. Why? Achieving your full potential takes a lot of work and requires a lot of self-awareness. A counsellor not only provides a fresh perspective and gives people a better understanding of their own emotions, they can also teach you how to express yourself and communicate better. This will ultimately enhance your self-esteem, relationships, and overall outlook.
Counselling and other mental health services can be difficult for Deaf people to access, with more than half not being able to find the services they need. This is because:
- There are few experienced counsellors that understand sign language
- Of problems in translation between sign and spoken language
- Differences with how Deaf people express feelings and perceive mental health
Reading and writing are not an acceptable substitute when it comes to counselling. And lip reading is far from being accurate. On average, a Deaf adult is only able to lip read 26% to 40% of speech.