As social creatures, we all know that the key to maintaining a good relationship requires good communication. We rely on our conversations with our friends and partners to keep us engaged and active for a richer, shared life. Our interactions with people, whether social or professional, are crucial to our sense of connectedness.
Does the decline of our hearing affect our communication with others? Yes, it does and not in a positive way.
Everyone is impacted. Friends, family, work colleagues and partners are all affected. The ones that suffer along the most, asides from the person that is hearing impaired, are their partners. The good news: treating hearing loss can significantly improve your relationships!
What can the numbers tell us?
In the US hearing loss is one of three of the fastest growing public health concerns asides from diabetes and cancer. Almost 30 million people in the US alone need hearing aids but are without. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) have found through their research that “Respondents with hearing loss report that their relationship with their romantic partner suffered most (35%), followed by relationships with family, friends, and coworkers.
The intimacy of relationships with people hinges on even the tiniest bits of communication that we often take for granted. Nuances and subtleties in tone are no longer picked up on and both parties lose. A survey of 1,500 people suffering from hearing loss taken in Britain revealed that “Two thirds (69%) said their hearing loss seriously hinders their ability to take part in everyday conversations with friends and family, causing 52% of those surveyed to feel left out and ignored in social situations.
Over 50% percent of the people surveyed believed an improvement in their hearing would strengthen and make their relationships with everyone more congenial.
Communication under the thumb of hearing loss
Imagine that every day your hearing loss is neglected, the harder it is to communicate to your loved ones and know that it is harder for them as well. A highly suggested and easy read is published in the Huffington Post from 2017 gives us a brief insight into the struggle a woman and her beloved husband had with his hearing loss. They had been together for a long time and she recounts some of her memories, and a lot of pertinent information, about the hearing loss and its debilitating effect on their decades-long marriage. Keep in mind that even though hearing loss accelerates as we get older it is not age-specific.
As couples try and navigate through the travails of hearing loss, here are a few of the ongoing and accumulative effects that have been documented by a report compiled by the Action on Hearing Loss organization:
- Loss in content and character of their communication leaving both feeling isolated – the small things that make interaction unique between couples
- Frustration that grew into resentment on both sides
- Withdrawal from their social lives increasing the feeling of loneliness for both – fewer nights out with shared friends
- Less shared activities – going to the movies
The person suffering from hearing loss also was left wondering if their partner understood the impact of background noise and the fatigue that came with the debilitating condition. Of the 23 couples interviewed all agreed that their intimate communications, as well as the little things that made their type of communication unique in a partnership declined.
On a more positive note, the report also found that the person with the hearing affliction would do better with the use of their hearing aids when their partner was dedicated to the maintenance of their communication. Enabling better interaction with the use of hearing aids is a benefit to all parties involved and would seem to be the logical course of action for better communication.
All Ear Doctors
At All Ear Doctors, we are eager to take your call and make an appointment for you or for your loved one that is ready for a healthier hearing life. Do not hesitate to reach out to us in the next step towards better communication that will strengthen the relationships with those you care about, and most of all to better your overall health.