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Do you have hearing loss? Most people would immediately answer no, but the fact is that 48 million Americans have hearing loss, and many of them don’t even know it yet. Hearing loss is often a gradual process, happening over time as part of the natural wear and tear your ears experience throughout life. One of the first telltale signs that you have hearing loss is in your relationships. Have you noticed a breakdown in communication, or feel isolated from your family and friends? Struggling to hear conversations is an early warning sign of hearing loss, and you need to schedule a hearing test as soon as possible.
How Hearing Loss is Hurting Your Relationships
When you have hearing loss, whether you know you have a hearing loss or not, your ability to have quality conversations decreases. You may ask people to repeat themselves all the time, or completely mishear what’s been said. This breakdown in conversational abilities makes it hard to connect with loved ones, and it hurts your relationships more than you realize.
You Seem Rude: When you have hearing loss, your family and friends may think you’re being rude or ignoring them when they speak to you from another part of the room, or yell to you from the kitchen. You’re not being rude; you simply haven’t heard them at all. When you don’t realize you have hearing loss, your family and friends may get offended at you for ignoring them, or for constantly interrupting to ask them to repeat themselves. It’s easy to imagine how this can damage relationships, and hurt the ones you love.
Less Moments of Connection: When you have a hearing loss, your closest connections suffer the most, and your relationship with your spouse is in danger. Your connection is based on countless shared moments, inside jokes, and the nuances of tone of voice. When you’re not hearing clearly your communication breaks down, and you have fewer moments of connection with your partner.
Communication Becomes Frustrating: When conversations are peppered with interruptions, and you ask someone to repeat themselves several times per sentence, hearing loss is hurting your relationships. Both you and your conversation partner will be frustrated by the interaction, and rather than having a point of connection, the conversation can damage the relationship even more.
Crunching the Numbers
Does hearing loss affect all your relationships in this way? The numbers show that anyone living with untreated hearing loss is putting all their relationships at risk. A study out of the UK titled In It Together: The Impact of Hearing Loss on Personal Relationships, found that hearing loss has a negative impact on all your personal relationships, especially with your spouse. In couples where one person had a hearing loss, both partners expressed feelings of frustration, isolation, and loneliness stemming from the hearing loss.
The person with hearing loss also experienced a breakdown in daily communication, and they stopped having easy conversations with loved ones. Conversations only happened with absolutely necessary, and both partners expressed sadness at missing out on shared activities and hobbies. The study found that nearly two thirds of those with hearing loss felt like hearing loss was affecting their relationships, and 34% said untreated hearing loss caused them to lose relationships or even lead to a divorce.
Treating Hearing Loss with Hearing Aids
If you’ve noticed a change in your relationships, schedule a hearing test to find out if hearing loss is coming between you and your loved ones. Today’s hearing aids are equipped with state-of-the-art programs and features that will make hearing easier, and you’ll have more access to conversations, both in the comfort of your own kitchen and in a crowded restaurant with a lot of background noise.
With speech enhancement to separate speech sounds from distracting noise, and background noise reduction to help you focus on what you want to hear, treating hearing loss will support communication and improve your relationships. Don’t put off treating your hearing loss until it’s too late, but do the right thing for your relationships and find the devices that will match your hearing needs. Don’t worry about having gaps in communication! Treating hearing loss helps you hear more clearly in every situation and improve your relationships.