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The impact of hearing loss on relationships and social life

“Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.” — Helen Keller 

You might think your hearing loss only affects you, but consider this: Is your hearing loss causing problems in your relationship?

Hearing loss does not occur in a vacuum. It affects not only the person with hearing loss, but all of those surrounding him. Studies show that untreated hearing loss can have detrimental effects on relationships. Among these:

  • Frustration
  • Resentment
  • Loneliness, i.e. the hearing partners feel that they are missing out on companionship
  • Curtailing of social activities, withdrawal from social interaction
  • Decrease in intimate talk, joking with family
  • Shared communication difficulties
  • Decrease in shared activities such as watching TV
  • Loss of companionship
  • Decrease in communication (words are kept to a minimum)

On the flip side, the studies show that interventions such as hearing aids can not only improve quality of life, but can improve relationship satisfaction, communication and social functioning. From having intimate conversations with their partners to watching TV together or socializing, people who get hearing aids find that they are once again able to enjoy life. And more importantly, they are able to enjoy life once again as a part of a couple.

It’s common for someone with even a mild hearing loss (a loss in the ability to hear a sound at 25 to 40 decibels) to strain to hear or understand what a friend, loved one, or co-worker is saying — especially in noisy environments. Straining to hear another person’s words uses precious brainpower that could be spent thinking of a reply — continuing the conversation — rather than trying to understand what is being said.

Communicating with friends and loved ones becomes an exhausting, frustrating experience, and some people would rather avoid these situations altogether. Often, those with hearing loss have to ask for repetition multiple times. This causes others to get frustrated or angry as well.

If you don’t feel that you’re hearing as well as you could, please contact us at All Ears Hearing and book an appointment for a consultation and hearing test. It’s important to get a hearing test regularly to ensure that your hearing is healthy, and that you aren’t missing out on the little moments that make life truly enjoyable.