How Can Better Hearing Improve Your Relationships?

How Can Better Hearing Improve Your Relationships?

Kevin Dee, BC-HIS Communication, Family & Relationships, Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Hearing Loss Treatment, Research

Kevin Dee, BC-HIS

Hearing loss can be challenging to navigate and may make you feel isolated. It is important to know that you are not alone and that hearing loss is more common than you think.  According to the National Institute of Health, 1 in 8 people in the United States (age 12 and above) experience impaired hearing. Reduced ability to hear significantly impacts your daily life and your well being. Fortunately, there is effective treatment available that can drastically strengthen your hearing health and improve the quality of your life!

Impact of Hearing Loss on Relationships

Hearing loss not only impacts you but also affects the people in your life. There are many ways that impaired hearing can take a toll on relationships, including:

  • Strained Communication: conversations become difficult to participate in when you are experiencing hearing loss. You may not be able to follow conversations, you may ask other people to repeat themselves or speak slowly, and miss words that were said. This impacts your ability to fully understand and respond. You could miss important information, parts of a joke, questions etc. Because of this, engaging with others can be overwhelming and cause you to feel anxious. Others may also feel stressed and frustrated because conversations require more work.
  • Fatigue: you can often find yourself expending more energy reading mouths, trying to hear distinct words, asking other people to speak loudly, thinking about how you are going to respond when you have not fully heard what the other person said etc. In attempting to hear when your hearing is impaired, you work overtime anytime you are listening which can lead to exhaustion. Feeling tired can impact how you engage with others. It can increase miscommunication, irritability, and tenseness.
  • Social Withdrawal: this fatigue may cause you to avoid social activities, noisy environments, and conversations altogether because it simply requires too much work and it has become less fun. Engaging with others may not be as fulfilling because it has become too tasking and overwhelming. You may find yourself spending less time with your friends and family members, not participating in the activities that you use to enjoy, and becoming less social overall. By isolating yourself, you can feel lonely which can be detrimental to your emotional and mental health.

Untreated hearing loss can impact all aspects of your life. It can take a toll on how you feel on a daily basis and contribute to general unhappiness. Additionally, impaired hearing can prevent you from being completely present as your full self. Your relationships can suffer as a result of this and challenging communication.  It is important to be aware of any of these changes and other symptoms you may be experiencing.

Symptoms

There are many ways people experience hearing loss. In addition to the symptoms mentioned previously, others include:

  • Turning up the volume on devices (phone, television, laptop etc.)
  • Tinnitus which is a ringing noise in one or both ears
  • Greater ability to hear in one ear over the other
  • Speech and sounds seem muffled and unclear
  • Difficulty following entire conversations, especially in environments with background noise and in conversations with multiple people

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, to any degree, it is important that you have your hearing checked.

Seeking Treatment

You may not be entirely aware that your hearing health is declining. This is because hearing loss often happens gradually making it difficult to immediately realize. Having your hearing examined is incredibly important, especially because early detection can prevent further damage and complications. We strongly encourage you to reach out and schedule an appointment for a hearing test. This is a noninvasive process that assesses the softest sound you can hear in both ears. A hearing healthcare professional will examine the degree of hearing impairment and type. This information is used to determine the most effective treatment option for your hearing needs.

The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids. With progressive technology, hearing aids have become more advanced and efficient. There is a range of styles and features available. Hearing aids can be customized to meet you exactly where you are!