How Hearing Loss Can Impact Your Relationships
Hearing loss affects every area of your life: your work, your activities, and more than anything else, your connections with the people you love.
Relationships With Children
If you are in charge of looking after small children, your untreated hearing loss could put them in danger if you can’t hear their cries.
Older children who aren’t heard may think you don’t care about what they have to say, or that you just aren’t interested in them. Or you may be actively listening to them, but find it hard to understand what they're saying. This can be difficult for the whole family.
Untreated hearing loss also affects the relationship between parents and their grown children. Adult children often feel like they have to look after their parents, who may be experiencing social isolation, depression, anxiety, decreased cognitive abilities or dementia – all common side-effects of untreated hearing loss. The parents may also be susceptible to physical danger because they can’t hear alarms or warnings.
Often the adult children feel responsible for ensuring their parents understand what's going on around them, and take on the task of being their parents' communicator and translator. The stress of this role can take a toll on everyone involved.
In your closest relationships, untreated hearing loss can lead to disagreements and disenchantment. Not being able to hear your wife or husband during a conversation, or simply watch TV without fighting over the volume control can add unnecessary stress to the relationship.
Unfortunately, only 20 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids wear them – and hearing aids have been shown to reduce stress and increase quality of life substantially.
Hearing aids aren’t just for people who are in romantic relationships, but for people who want to be in relationships. A study by the Better Hearing Institute showed that hearing aids can dramatically improve a person’s social life:
70 percent of people who wore hearing aids said they could communicate better because of their hearing aids.
Over 50 percent said that hearing aids improved their relationships, their social lives and their confidence in joining groups.
40 percent had more self-confidence and stronger feelings of independence as a result of their improved hearing aids.
Over 25 percent saw an improvement in their romantic lives.
Untreated hearing loss can put a strain on social relationships. If people are unaware of your hearing loss, they may think you simply aren’t listening to them and don’t really care about what they have to say. Talking on the phone becomes increasingly difficult with hearing loss, and many people who find their relationships suffering because of their hearing loss tend to withdraw from social situations, furthering their isolation and loneliness.
Impaired hearing puts a strain on your work relationships because you are missing instructions and deadlines, not completing tasks because you misunderstood them or didn’t hear them at all, and you can’t participate fully in meetings because you don’t hear everything that is being said. This doesn’t just lead to frustration amongst your colleagues, but also with your clients and employers. Your inability to hear well could be misinterpreted as an unwillingness to work hard and contribute.
Hearing aids won’t just keep you informed about what’s going on around you, but they will help keep you close to the people you care about the most. If you find yourself often asking people to repeat what they say, if you turn up the TV louder than your spouse would like, or if someone has suggested you get your hearing tested, don’t wait. Get better hearing, and get back into your life.