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Hearing loss affects daily life in a variety of ways. Hearing is a major way we communicate and navigate the everyday environments, interactions, and conversations. Hearing loss produces a range of symptoms that has multifaceted effects including taking a toll on relationships. It is important to know that not only is the person with hearing loss impacted but so are loved ones. Studies show that hearing loss impacts family, friends, and partners. But by treating hearing loss, imparied hearing can have a minimized effect on relationships. Treatment can improve and strengthen relationships, contributing to a greater quality of life.
Impact of Hearing Loss on Relationships
Hearing loss reduces a person’s capacity to hear and process speech as well as sound. This produces numerous symptoms that strain communication. Symptoms like tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears and sounds being distorted or slurred make communication difficult which can impact relationships in the following ways:
- Strained communication: hearing loss symptoms create challenges like difficulty following conversations, missing parts of what others are saying, and even pretending to hear to get through a conversation. This can lead to shortened conversations or miscommunication, impacting the quality of conversation that one is able to have. Loved ones may feel like they aren’t being heard and are being ignored by the lack of engagement.
- Social withdrawal: because conversations require so much work and can be unpleasant, people with hearing loss often avoid them as much as possible. This includes skipping out on social events, keeping conversations short, and spending less time with family and friends.
Strained communication and social withdrawal can produce distance and tension in relationships. Doing things together can feel difficult and people can feel disconnected. This takes a toll on everyday interactions, small talk, quality time, and connection.
Studies on Hearing Loss’s Impact on Relationships
Research shows that hearing loss can impact relationships significantly. This includes a study conducted by Clear Living, a healthcare and lifestyle platform. Published in 2020, the study included interviewing 3, 767 people to learn how hearing loss impacted their life. Findings include:
- 58% of participant’s statements say that their relationships had suffered
- 39% of participants claimed that their conversations had declined or were harder to follow
- 30% found watching TV difficult while 35% struggled being out with friends in public. places.
This shows that an impact on relationships is a common outcome of hearing loss. These findings also highlight that spending time with others – having conversations, watching TV, being out in public – is difficult.
The toll hearing loss can have on relationships can impact people in countless ways – affecting mood, wellbeing, mental health etc. This underscores the importance of treating hearing loss which not only transforms hearing but also relationships.
Treatment Improves Relationships
Treating hearing loss offers major benefits that improve quality of life in significant ways. Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. These are electronic devices that are prescribed by a hearing healthcare specialist. Hearing aids are equipped with the technology to absorb, amplify, and process sound. This support alleviates symptoms and increases capacity to hear which improves relationships in many ways including:
- Strengthens communication: hearing aids provide the ears and brain with much support, making it easier to hear and process speech as well as sound. This allows people to navigate conversations and environments with greater ease, awareness, adn presence. People are better able to readily hear and respond, supporting effective communication. Hearing aids enable wearers to engage actively without the barrier of symptoms which facilitates smooth interactions.
- Enriches social life; strengthened communication and greater capacity to navigate all types of environments also enriches social life. People are able to comfortably participate in social activities and conversations. Hearing aids also offer a range of features that provide comprehensive support in environments with background noise – like social settings.
- Boosts health and wellness: being able to easefully move through settings, interact with others, and enjoy everyday activities improves mental health and wellness. This boosts confidence, sense of independence, and happiness. Treatment also reduces health risks and strengthens brain health as well as safety.
These benefits allow people to spend quality time with others, cultivate stronger connections, and enjoy everyday interactions which improves relationships.