While hearing loss may seem like a personal problem, it isn’t. Hearing loss affects all those around you, especially your loved ones. Research shows that untreated hearing loss negatively impacts relationships with family and friends, especially romantic partnerships.
The Prevalence of Untreated Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is common, affecting more than 48 million Americans. Unfortunately, only 25 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids wear them, meaning 75 percent choose not to seek treatment.
A British study of 1,500 people with hearing losslooked at how this condition affected relationships. The survey revealed 44 percent of participants reported that their hearing loss caused relationships with their partner, friends or family to suffer. Thirty-four percent reported they had a relationship end because of a breakdown in communication.
Healthy Hearing and Good Communication
Good communication, whether about important points or trivial matters are the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. Frustration can easily set in when communication breaks down, leading to resentment, a sense of loneliness and isolation for all parties involved.
Those who had hearing loss reported that their romantic partners were valuable sources of support and played an important role in making them aware of their condition and encouraging them to seek treatment. Respondents also confirmed that their partner seemed to have difficulty understanding their hearing loss, especially how fatigue and background noise play a role in how well they can hear in certain situations.
Both partners agreed that there had been a significant change in their communication as a result of the hearing loss.
Treating Hearing Loss to Improve Relationships
This research confirms that all communication is important to building intimacy and bringing about shared experiences.
Fortunately, there are hearing loss treatment options available. Your audiologist will first conduct a series of hearing tests to determine your type and degree of hearing loss. Chances are, your recommended treatment plan will include the addition of a hearing aid.