How Hearing Loss Interferes with Your Relationships

How Hearing Loss Interferes with Your Relationships

In Ear Health, Family & Relationships, Hearing Health, Hearing Loss by Bary E. Williams Au.D.

Untreated hearing loss can take social interactions that should be fun–a dinner party with relatives, a conversation with a grandchild, a movie night with your spouse at home–and turn them into a source of stress and conflict. Studies show that untreated hearing loss gets in the way of social interactions out in the world and at work, but it takes the heaviest toll at home, disrupting relationships between hard of hearing people and those closest to them. But it needn’t be so. Hearing aids can offer help and relief and restore the lines of communication that keep relationships strong. Keep reading to find out why treating your hearing loss is the best thing you can do for your relationship.


Studies show untreated hearing loss damages relationships

You might wonder if treating your hearing loss with hearing aids is really necessary, if you and your partner seem to be doing fine without them. But studies show that if your level of hearing loss is such that it interferes with daily communication, you may be putting your relationship at risk by postponing treatment.

When one partner in a relationship has untreated hearing loss, they can start to feel isolated, unhappy, and even resentful of having to rely on the other person to be their hearing helper. Likewise, the hearing partner may start to suffer from the responsibility of always having to translate, as well as dealing with a loss of companionship.

In 2009, researchers in the UK surveyed 1,500 people with hearing loss about their relationships. Out of those interviewed, 44 percent believed that their hearing loss had negatively impacted their relationships with their partner, friends or family. 34 percent of participants said that their untreated hearing loss and related communication difficulties had led to a loss of relationships, including marriages.

A 2007 study published in the ASHA Leader further illustrates the negative effects of untreated hearing loss on romantic relationships. In this study, 35 percent of participants with hearing loss said that of all their relationships, the one with their significant other had suffered the most.


Hearing loss is hard on everyone

Hearing may not be a life or death issue, but untreated hearing loss does have a profound effect on a person’s quality of life and their relationships. Living with hearing loss is difficult for the hard of hearing person, and it also takes a heavy emotional toll on their significant other and family members, by adding stress and making daily communication a struggle.

People in relationships where one partner has untreated hearing loss report:

-feelings of frustration or loneliness
-less companionship
-more alienation, less engagement in social activities

-decreased intimacy and sharing
-daily communication difficulties
-fewer shared domestic activities, such as watching TV
-an overall decrease in communication (talking is reduced)


Small, everyday communications are essential

All of the studies on hearing loss and relationships point to one thing: day-to-day communication is of utmost importance when it comes to keeping relationships healthy and strong. The small asides, jokes, reflections and private moments that people share may seem trivial, but they all help to create trust, intimacy and a feeling of being less alone in the world. When these shared moments become strained as a result of untreated hearing loss, the relationship suffers as a result.


What can hearing aids do for you?

There are a lot of negatives associated with untreated hearing loss, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about it. But there are just as many positives that come from treating hearing loss. Being fitted with hearing aids–and wearing them every day–has been shown to improve overall quality of life, restore feelings of well-being, increase safety and help to prevent cognitive decline and dementia. Hearing aids also make it possible to communicate with those around you, in a more relaxed way and without the stress and embarrassment of constant misunderstandings. Finally, hearing aids make it possible to get out of the house and take part in activities again with the ones you love.

Stop for a moment and consider the most important relationships in your life. Has your untreated hearing loss made it harder to enjoy spending time with those you love? If the answer is yes, it’s time to take action. Here at Exceptional Hearing Care, we offer a free 14-day in-home trial of hearing technology to our new customers, to make sure you are completely satisfied with your hearing aids. If you’re ready to reconnect with your loved ones, make an appointment at Exceptional Hearing Care today.

Bary E. Williams Au.D.
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