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How Hearing Loss Interferes with Your Relationships

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Dr. Timothy Teague, AuD
Latest posts by Dr. Timothy Teague, AuD (see all)

It is our nature as humans to thrive in social situations. Humans evolve by sharing concepts and ideas so we can inform each other and grow together. Communication makes up our days as we converse with our family, friends and co-workers. Even casual interaction on the street or during a transaction at a store can actually energize us or turn into a lasting friendship.

When our hearing starts to fade it affects more than just our ears. When we choose to ignore hearing loss we are less likely to reach out to the people around us. The casual conversation we take for granted begins to diminish and so do opportunities, adventure, independence and our closest relationships.

Hearing loss affects the people around you

It is often certain tones and pitches that go missing first when hearing loss starts to develop. You may find yourself having to ask the people around you to repeat themselves more and more often. Having to ask for clarification in a conversation every now and then is always okay, but when this becomes commonplace it can make conversations less enjoyable for everyone.

You may find yourself conversing less with your significant other, your family, friends and co-workers than before to avoid frustration and miscommunication. You may also notice yourself needing to turn up the TV or stereo louder than is comfortable for the people around you and trouble hearing over the phone, leading to constant arguments.

A 2009 British study examined 1,500 people with hearing loss to find that 44% reported that their hearing loss had caused strain in their close relationships. Sadly 34% reported that hearing issues had severely damaged relationships, some even reporting divorce.

Communication is the cornerstone of relationships

Communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. When we practice clear communication we are able to work through misunderstandings and resentment. Not only that but we build closeness to one another. We can joke, play and relax. It is the casual comfortable conversation that builds intimacy with our significant others and develops closeness with our friends and family.

When we can’t hear, it can be more of a challenge to be casual and close. Relationships become strained and you may be tempted to isolate instead of putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. It is common for people who are not dealing with their hearing loss to become anxious, depressed and suffer insomnia. Loneliness is a dangerous condition for humans, who rely on regular social interaction for mental health.

The prevalence of untreated hearing loss

As we age it is normal for hearing loss to decline. One in three people in the US over the age of 65 suffer from hearing loss and that number becomes one in two as people reach 75 years and older. While it is estimated that 48 million people in the United States have some degree of hearing loss, only one in four use hearing aids. This is even more alarming because many of these people know that they have hearing loss but avoid committing to hearing aids.

Hearing aids amplify the sounds around you that you may be missing and send it directly to your ear canal to use your existing hearing. When you commit to using your hearing aids regularly you can start to hear what the people in your life are saying again. You can start to rebuild your relationships that may have suffered due to broken communication. You can start to heal.

Find healing with hearing aids

If you suspect that someone close to you is dealing with untreated hearing loss and your relationship is suffering, one of the most healing things you can do is to gently encourage them to get a hearing test. Similarly, if you know your relationships are suffering due to untreated hearing loss make an appointment as soon as possible with us.

A hearing test will diagnose the extent of a hearing loss and help us to find the best hearing aids for your particular hearing loss. Surveys have found that those with relationship issues due to hearing loss noted a significant improvement when they began to use hearing aids regularly.

Make a commitment to deal with your hearing loss today and start to heal and rebuild the relationships in your life that help to make everyday worth living. Contact us today!