Communication is an essential part of any relationship and shapes how we move through the world. Expressing and sharing thoughts and ideas provide us with an understanding of ourselves, other people, and the environments we navigate. Hearing loss can negatively impact communication and cause relationships to suffer. This can take a toll on how you feel on a daily basis and affect your overall health. It is important to get your hearing assessed and address any impairment you may be experiencing which can drastically improve your relationships.
What is hearing loss?
Hearing loss often occurs gradually and is the reduced ability to hear speech and sound. There are many factors that contribute to impaired hearing that vary from environmental exposure to noise, existing medical conditions, and family/genetic history. Symptoms of hearing loss are wide-ranging and can include:
- Difficulty following a conversation
- Needing to increase the volume on devices (TV, phone, speaker etc.)
- Asking other people to repeat words or sentences
- Cupping your ears to hear more clearly
- Preferring one ear over the other
- Ringing noise in your ear (known as tinnitus)
- Speaking loudly and/or asking others to speak loudly
- Not fully hearing distinct words
These symptoms can create stress and anxiety that, may result in the desire to avoid public places that are noisy and social settings where you have to engage with multiple people. This can significantly impact your social life and emotional well- being as you find yourself exhausted from constantly trying to hear better.
How can hearing loss impact relationships?
Another major way hearing loss can impact your well being is through causing your relationships to suffer. This can look several ways including:
- Becoming less social: as mentioned previously, you may find yourself withdrawing from social interaction. This can be because you experience serious fatigue as you are required to work overtime to hear, environments with loud external noise and having a conversation with multiple people can be overwhelming. All of this can result in seeing your friends and family less.
- Difficulty communicating: hearing loss reduces your ability to hear and therefore understand. Having conversations, sharing information, jokes and all of the elements that are necessary for relationships; are impacted. You may need other people to speak loudly and/or often repeat themselves and may miss things they say. This can result in people being frustrated when trying to engage in a conversation.
Relationships can become strained and difficult to manage. There are useful ways to address hearing loss that can really improve all aspects of your life.
What can you do?
Being proactive about your hearing health can drastically improve the quality of your life! We recommend having your hearing tested which not only assesses any impairment to your hearing, but also the degree and type of loss you could be experiencing. Because hearing loss often happens gradually, you may not be fully aware of any changes you are experiencing to your ability to hear. Early detection of impairment is very helpful in treating hearing loss.
The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids, which effectively help people hear more clearly. This can improve your relationships by:
- Improving your hearing health: strengthens your overall health, which ultimately makes you feel better on a daily basis. This can lead you to participating more in social activities, as you are able to navigate noisy environments and conversations with greater ease.
- More effective communication: being able to hear with clarity means not missing words or sentences, which allows you to have a better understanding of the conversation. This can prevent miscommunication and allows you to be more present in a conversation.
- More energy: trying to hear when your hearing is impaired requires a lot of energy. You may default to reading mouths during conversations, asking others to repeat themselves, trying to make words out etc. is exhausting. Treating your hearing loss can prevent this fatigue and give you more energy to be out in the world!
Your hearing health is incredibly important. With the advanced technology that exists today and accessibility of effective hearing aids, hearing impairment can be effectively treated. Leading to improved relationships, health, and day-to-day life!