The impact of hearing loss on relationships – a great article in Healthy Hearing by Joy Victory.
Hearing loss does not occur in a vacuum. Studies show that untreated hearing loss can negatively impact our relationships with family and friends and particularly with those closest to us, such as our romantic partners.
Hearing loss strains relationships – Research makes it pretty clear that untreated hearing loss can be a major source of stress, especially among couples.
“Studies show that hearing loss produces feelings of frustration, embarrassment, and distress for the partner and for the relationship in general,” said two researchers who conducted a qualitative study of couples where one partner had hearing loss.
The researchers found that “both the hearing-impaired participants and their close partners bemoaned the loss of spontaneity and the difficulties of sharing small unexpected incidents, observations and small talk in their everyday interactions.”
Communication is key to a healthy relationship – Day to day communication among couples, whether about important matters or those that seem trivial, are the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. Hearing loss can cause those small but important interactions to be lost. When communication breaks down, frustration creeps in. That frustration can lead to resentment, which leads to further breakdown in communication and intimacy. The result? A sense of loneliness and isolation for both partners.
Negative emotions connected to hearing loss – Hearing loss can cause a cascade of detrimental effects and negative emotions between partners. Among these:
~ Loneliness, i.e. the hearing partners feel that they are missing out on companionship
~ Curtailing of social activities, withdrawal from social interaction
~ Decrease in intimate talk, joking with family
~ Shared communication difficulties
~ Decrease in shared activities such as watching TV
~ Loss of companionship
~ Decrease in communication (words are kept to a minimum)
Tips for talking your partner about hearing loss – If your partner or spouse isn’t hearing well.
Living with someone who can’t hear can be frustrating, especially when they are unaware of the problem. If they constantly ask you to repeat yourself, turn up the volume on the television to an uncomfortable level, or have trouble hearing the telephone, microwave or doorbell chime, it might be time to have a heart-to-heart chat. Pick a quiet time when the two of you are in a good mood and you can talk uninterrupted. Use a firm, caring tone that is not judgmental or condescending.
Tell them it’s affecting your relationship. While your husband or wife may be concerned about the stigma of wearing hearing aids, someone saying “what?” all the time can be relationship buzzkill. Hearing loss affects communication, which is the core of all relationships.
~ Tell them you’re concerned for their health. When hearing loss is left untreated, the speech and language areas of the brain can atrophy, leading to auditory deprivation and putting a person at increased risk of cognitive decline.
~ Tell them you’re concerned for your own health. The additional stress of worrying about your other half’s health and safety can take a physical and emotional toll on your own health. Plus, it’s no fun to listen to the TV or stereo when it’s cranked up too high, or having to shout or constantly repeat yourself.
~ Make an appointment to have your own hearing tested and ask them to go with you. First of all, it’s something you should do anyway. Secondly, it’s always good to have another set of ears to hear what the hearing care provider has to say, no matter who the patient is. Who knows? The hearing evaluation process is so simple and easy, they might just agree to have their own test.
~ Discuss hearing loss’s broad impact. They may not be aware of all the ways that their hearing loss is lowering their quality of life. Discuss the 10 signs of hearing loss with them, including signs like fatigue and feeling frustrated a lot.
Read the full article with more tips, by clicking here
We are here to help if you or a family member is having any difficulties with hearing, hearing aids, or Tinnitus please give us a call at 727-323-2471 and set up an appointment. We can help you.
Susan E. Terry, Au.D., F-AAA, F-NAP
Doctor of Audiology
P.S. We are here to help if you have any questions about your hearing, feel free to give us a call at 727-323-2471