How Hearing Loss Interferes with Your Relationships

How Hearing Loss Interferes with Your Relationships

Bonnie L. Baehr, Au.D. Communication, Family & Friends, Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Research

There’s no getting around the fact that humans are social animals. Communication fills our day. From talking about plans for the day at breakfast to chatting with the person taking our order in the drive-thru to work or school and then home to review the day. Social interactions are an integral part of everyone’s life. From family and work talk to concerts, sporting events, parties, clubs, fairs and the PTA – all those social interactions are the framework of a happy and healthy life. Don’t miss out on those interactions, from the whisper of “I love you” to a performance by your favorite musician, because you have hearing difficulties. Maintain your hearing lifestyle and relationships by getting a hearing evaluation at Beverly Hills Hearing Center.

It’s Not Just Affecting You

Untreated hearing loss, according to numerous studies, has an adverse effect on individuals as well as the relationships that have been formed with family, friends and significant others. The Hearing Loss Association of America estimates 48 million people in the United States have some degree of hearing loss. Yet, only one in four have hearing aids and only one in four have hearing aids – even if they’ve already been diagnosed as having hearing loss and advised to get hearing aids.

A 2009 British study discovered that out of 1,500 people with hearing loss, 44% indicated their hearing loss had caused stress and strain in their relationships with family, friends and a romantic partner. About 34% said the communication issues due to untreated hearing loss had severely damaged relationships, some to the point of divorce.

Communication Important to Relationships

Much of the day-to-day framework of a relationship involves talking or listening. Those little things we talk about keep communication lines open. Communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship and hearing loss interferes with communication. It frustrates both individuals in the relationship and leads to frustration and resentment.

Discussions become difficult to navigate. One woman wrote a blog about her husband’s untreated hearing loss and she said discussions deteriorated to a series of shouting matches involving nouns like “TV” and “Dinner.” Going to parties, she wrote, wasn’t much fun for either partner because she knew her husband wasn’t understanding conversations going on around him leaving him frustrated, bewildered and lonely. He would want to leave early, and they eventually started taking two cars to events and he would leave before her. Even if they took one car, they couldn’t carry on a conversation.
The volume of the television became a bone of contention. For her, the closed captions were distracting and she didn’t enjoy watching television with her husband anymore.

Relationships with Partners Suffer

When the American Speech Language Hearing Association asked this survey question – “How do partners and their families respond to hearing loss?” – thirty-five percent reported their relationships with their significant others took a direct hit. Those with hearing loss did think of their partners as a valuable support resource and said they played a big role in creating awareness of their hearing loss issue and encouraging them to get treatment.

Even the most supportive partners, they acknowledged, had trouble understanding the difficulties of hearing loss and how things like fatigue and background noise affected what they could hear. Both partners agreed on one thing – their relationship dynamics had changed dramatically due to the lack of communication because of the untreated hearing loss.

Treatment is the Remedy

Surveys show those with relationship issues due to hearing loss noted there was an improvement when they got hearing aids. They were able to communicate more effectively as well as socialize again.
Communication is important to you and all of your relationships. You want to enjoy the sounds of nature like the birds chirping, the quiet moments with your significant other and all the other sounds of life that make it a great place.

There’s no reason to miss out on life and all of the social connections you want and need. At Beverly Hills Hearing Center, we can help you reconnect with all those things. We’ve been serving the hearing needs of the community for more than 30 years. It just takes one phone call for that first appointment to evaluate your hearing and establish a hearing treatment program.