How Treating Hearing Loss Improves Your Relationships

Hearing loss not only impacts the person with impaired hearing but also the people around them. Extensive research shows that untreated hearing loss can take a toll on relationships with family members and friends. It is important for loved ones to encourage seeking treatment as well as practice strategies for effective communication. This not only supports hearing health but profoundly improves relationships.  

Untreated Hearing Loss Strains Relationships

When hearing loss is not addressed, symptoms can worsen which reduces the capacity to hear and process sound. This strains communication which is foundational for healthy relationships. Research shows that untreated hearing loss can produce frustration, stress, and distance in relationships. A few common ways that relationships are impacted include:

  • Decrease in the quality and intimacy of conversations. Conversations can be reduced to shortened interactions, words are kept to a minimum etc. Loved ones can feel like they are being ignored or unheard. 
  • Less time spent doing shared activities like watching television, going on outings, playing board games etc. 
  • Social withdrawal which means spending less time with loved ones, skipping out on events, less social interactions etc. 
  • Growing resentment by partners who feel like they have to compensate for their loved one’s hearing loss by translating or repeating information. 

These detrimental effects can create tension and distance in relationships, eroding connection and quality time. Seeking treatment is the best way to not only tend to hearing health, but also prevent the effects from damaging the relationships with those who are closest.  

Tips for Advocating for Treatment 

If your loved one is experiencing hearing loss and they are either unaware or not confronting the issue, it can be incredibly frustrating. A useful way to navigate this is to advocate for treatment and support their journey. A few helpful ways you can do this include: 

  • Research hearing loss: take the time to learn more about hearing loss: symptoms, impact, hearing risks of untreated hearing loss etc. This expands your understanding of the condition which can provide you with greater empathy and patience. You can also share this information when you have a conversation with your loved one about seeking treatment. 
  • Share your observations: it is important to share direct observations of their hearing loss and how it has impacted your relationship. Share specific ways and examples of how their hearing loss has contributed to communication breakdown or tension. 
  • Discuss impact of untreated hearing loss: this includes worsening impairment, increased health risks like experiencing cognitive decline and accidental injuries, social withdrawal etc. 
  • Inform them of the treatment process: seeking treatment involves a relatively simple process that is noninvasive and painless. Walk them through what they can expect from a hearing test! 
  • Offer continued support: you can do this by offering to attend their appointment for a hearing test with them and/or also getting your hearing tested too! 

Additionally, be sure to choose the most comfortable environment to have this conversation with your loved one about seeking treatment. It can be a sensitive topic which requires great care and attention. 

How Treatment Improves Relationships

The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids. These are electronic devices that are able to detect and help process sound which provides significant support. This makes it easier to hear and understand sound which offers countless benefits that improve relationships; including: 

  • Reduce miscommunication: hearing aids alleviate common symptoms that create barriers for effective communication. These symptoms often lead to miscommunication because they make it challenging to hear and process information. Hearing aids intervene by helping to process speech which allows people to better hear and understand what is being communicated. 
  • Improve quality of conversation: people have greater capacity to engage in, follow, and be present during conversations. Being able to engage fully drastically improves the quality of conversations people can have. 
  • Ease tension: treatment alleviates the frustration, distance, adn tension that untreated hearing loss often contributes to. Loved ones do not have to constantly repeat themselves, make adjustments, or feel like they have to translate information. This causes any kind of responsibility they may feel. 
  • Cultivates closeness: being able to communicate one’s thoughts, hear others clearly, and participate with greater ease nurtures closeness in relationships. Communication is key for sustaining relationships which hearing aids strengthen. 

If you have experienced changes in your hearing or in how you communicate with your loved ones, we’re here to help! Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing test.