In most cases, hearing loss is extremely gradual. It happens so slowly that the loss is often quite difficult to identify. You may be surprised to learn that your relationships may be telling you about your hearing. If you’ve noticed a lack of connection with the people you love, or have begun to find conversations with your partner difficult or frustrating, the issue may actually lie in your hearing. Hearing loss has the ability to dramatically impact the quality of our conversations, and thusly, our human connections and relationships.
Ways Hearing Loss Hurts our Relationships
- Our partners believe we are simply not listening. With untreated hearing loss, it often feels as though you can hear, however, you cannot quite understand what your communication partner is saying. This happens because higher pitched and nuanced sounds such as the difference between a “d” and a “p” sound are often the first to go. Because of this, we are left constantly asking those we love to repeat themselves. This can cause our loved ones to feel as though you are not listening to them, or do not care about what they are saying – which can have a very negative impact on relationships.
- We miss opportunities for quiet connection. Especially in our intimate relationships, the opportunity for true connection often lies between the lines. Do you remember how you used to love listening to your husband hum quietly as he read the newspaper? Do you miss those quiet nights at home with your wife where you would talk for hours about absolutely nothing? With hearing loss, these moments tend to disappear – not because we don’t want to connect, but because we no longer hear the little moments that make relationships magical.
- Interacting with friends and family becomes frustrating. When conversations are filled more with shouted nouns and “whats” and “huhs”, than with true connection, they easily become frustrating and can almost feel as though they are not worth having. With untreated hearing loss, we often find ourselves isolating from social situations or bowing out of conversations when they become too difficult to understand. Even when done subconsciously, pulling away from conversations and opportunities to bond with our loved ones can cause a real rift in our relationships.
Studies on Hearing Loss and Relationships
While it is easy to understand how hearing loss could negatively impact our relationships, there is also a lot of research and scientific study that backs these claims as well. One of the most well-known pieces of research is titled, “In it Together: the impact of hearing loss on personal relationships” by UK based group Action on Hearing Loss. The study found that for couples where at least one partner had hearing loss, both partners reported feelings of loneliness, frustration and isolation. Partners also reported a change in the nature of conversations, from conversing about most things, to communicating only when necessary. Hearing partners also reported missing activities they used to enjoy but cannot because of their partner’s hearing loss, including listening to music and going out to eat. Both partners reported feeling guilty because of their emotions about hearing loss and how it has impacted their relationships. Click here to read the full study.
How Hearing Aids Can Help
Most modern hearing aids come packed with features created specifically to make conversations easier and more enjoyable. The reason conversations and improved communication are of such high priority for hearing aid manufacturers is because they are a high priority for hearing aid users. People who decide to treat their hearing loss with hearing aids report being much most satisfied in their relationships. Recently, the Hear the World Foundation surveyed over 4,000 hearing aid users across five countries and found that 81% of partners reported hearing aids having a positive impact on their relationships. 40% of partners also reported getting more attention from their loved one once they begin wearing hearing aids.
Hearing aids have the potential to dramatically improve the way we interact with our friends and family. They can help us to fill in the gaps of communication and allow us to truly connect once more. To learn more, contact us at Comprehensive Ear and Hearing today.