Many people think hearing problems affect only the person experiencing them, but anyone who knows and loves someone with the condition knows that’s not the case.
Hearing loss affects communication – a foundation of any relationship – whether it be with family, friends or significant others. There are nearly 50 million Americans with hearing loss, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America. With estimates showing only 25% of those needing hearing aids wear them, that equates to many relationships suffering due to hearing loss.
A 2009 UK study discovered that 44% of the surveyed 1,500 people with hearing loss reported problems with relationships due to their condition. About one-third of them (34%) reported losing relationships – including marriages – due to hearing loss.
With May being designated as Better Hearing and Speech Month, those of us at Audiology & Hearing Aid Solutions in New Jersey think it’s a perfect time to take proactive steps to improve your hearing – and relationships. This year, the month’s theme is “Communication Across the Lifespan.” Make it a priority to address your communication with loved ones to improve the quality of life for everyone.
How Hearing Loss Can Damage Your Relationship
Communications both big and small work together to form a huge part of a happy relationship. When some of these special bonding moments are lost due to hearing loss, negative feelings can develop. A 2007 study in the ASHA Leader found that 35% of the 2,576 survey participants stated their relationship with a significant other suffered the most from hearing loss.
Some of the negative emotions and results stemming from hearing loss include:
- Loneliness, with both partners feeling excluded from companionship they once enjoyed
- Fewer inside jokes and intimate talk that make the relationship unique
- Decreased participation in social events and interactions with friends
- Less enjoyment of shared activities, such as watching TV together
How Can You Fix Things?
Fortunately, you don’t have to take hearing loss (and its negative effects on your relationship) lying down. Taking proactive measure such as scheduling a hearing screening or exploring the possibility of getting hearing aids can go a long way in improving the quality of life for both you and your partner.