How does hearing loss impact relationships? Communication is a vital part of all our relationships. When one person in a relationship is suffering from hearing loss that communication becomes very difficult. A number of studies prove that untreated hearing loss can have a detrimental effect on how we relate to our loved ones. What can you do about it and how can you make your relationships better, whether you are the person suffering from hearing loss or their loved one?
Hearing impairments can hamper the way in which we communicate, ultimately leading to feelings of frustration and isolation. A study conducted by HearingDirect.com, indicated 33% of those surveyed claimed worsening hearing loss was the cause of marital arguments within the home.
Lack of communication can lead to a decline in emotional and physical intimacy. According to HearingLoss.org, intimacy issues caused by hearing loss can be attributed to the complex way in which we communicate, when there are no coping strategies in place. Negativity, unrealistic expectations and dependency issues can also prove a strain. The results of the study were startling - the rate of divorce for those with a mild hearing loss was similar to the current population norm, but for those with a severe hearing loss was four times greater.
Don't Ignore The Problem
It's all too easy to overlook the slow decline in your hearing, to pretend that catching the occasional word and nodding in all the right places, is enough to get by. Before you know it, the activities you used to enjoy doing, like going to the movies or eating out, have become an ordeal rather than a pleasure.
Lack of social interaction is not good for anyone, but for those in a relationship, both parties will be affected. The sheer effort required to communicate with each other can leave your partner feeling lonely, frustrated, impatient and confused.
Face Up To Hearing Loss
It is widely recognised that hearing loss can have a negative impact on our mental health, including:
- Memory issues
- Lack of concentration
Studies are now indicating that our social well-being and closest relationships are also at risk. According to research by the University of Nottingham in the UK, the results of which were published in the journal Trends in Hearing, hearing loss can affect the way we socially interact in every aspect of life. According to lead author, Vanessa Vas, Ph.D.: "Oftentimes, both parties became depressed and socially withdrawn". She added: "...the whole process is draining for [spouses], as they often have to serve as another set of ears, answering the phone and translating conversations".
If as a couple, you can accept the fact that you need to address the reality of hearing loss, then there is a great deal that can be done to help improve the way in which you communicate.
Get Your Hearing Tested
If you feel that your hearing loss is having a negative impact on your relationship with others, now is the time to do something about it.
Visit your local audiologist who will conduct a thorough examination of your hearing, or take our online hearing test which can be done quickly and efficiently at home.
Find A Hearing Solution That Works For You
We have entered into an era where new hearing technology is promising to transform the way in which we communicate. There's a whole host of hearing aids to choose from, that come in many different shapes and sizes.
Your device can be invisible when worn, water resistant or capable of wirelessly connecting to your Smartphone, all is possible. A hearing aid won't cure your hearing, but it will help you to communicate effectively.
Seek Guidance and Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Counselling can be a positive step forward in managing your hearing loss and keeping your relationship on track. Physical and emotional communication is important to all relationships. Showing empathy, respect, and understanding to your loved one will help maintain a healthy balance. It's just sometimes we need help to get there.
Push Your Boundaries and Try New Things
Armed with the right hearing solution, it's time to stop and consider how you want to move forward both in your life and in your relationship with others. Don't close the door on new experiences.
A trip to the movies, a bustling restaurant or your favourite band in concert can make an excellent 'date night' for you and your partner. These days may concert venues and cinemas are equipped with hearing loops which work with hearing aids. Besides, it's good to step outside of your comfort zone from time to time. There's a whole world out there waiting to be discovered. Don't let your hearing be a barrier.
Remember Body Language Is Just As Important
The spoken word is not the only way in which we can communicate. Our bodies are programmed to read all those subliminal messages that never reach our lips. Feelings of isolation can lead to complete withdrawal, which can subconsciously send out a signal of rejection to those we care about most.
Holding hands or linking arms can provide an instant connection that should not be under-estimated. We are all tactile creatures after all and a hug can go a long way.
About Hearing DirectWe are one of the world's leading hearing aid specialists. HearingDirect offers a wide range of affordable products, and information resources to help improve the quality of life for the hard of hearing. We sell:
- Hearing aids,
- Accessories such as earplugs,
- and amplified devices such as super loud alarm clocks and amplified phones.
Author: Stuart Canterbury
Stuart joined the hearing aid industry just at the start of the digital revolution in the mid 1990s. He was part of a team that transformed one of the minor manufacturers in to a major player in both production and retail of high technology hearing aids. This journey included working on public / private programmes to accelerate the uptake of high technology hearing aids across a wide distribution. This passion for improving the value and access to good quality hearing lead to the foundation of HearingDirect. After almost a decade and hundreds of thousands of customers we are starting to establish online sales as a practical, cost-effective channel to provide great hearing to all those who need help.