Imagine an ideal day spent with your significant other. What activities would you do together? Would the day involve exploring a new city, hosting a gathering of friends and family, taking a long walk or simply snuggling with a movie and popcorn at home?
Now imagine a difficult day: one of you has gotten some bad news, is sick, or exhausted from the demands of work and daily life. Maybe you are at odds over a hard decision. How would you support each other in this trying time?
Communication can be effortless, or it can be hard work, depending on the day--but it is always at the center of a relationship, heightening joy in those great moments, and making the hard times more bearable. So perhaps it should not be surprising that when one person in a relationship has untreated hearing loss, and talking and listening becomes a constant challenge, it can damage this important bond, making life significantly harder for both partners.
The good news is that wearing hearing aids has been shown to counteract the negative effects of hearing loss on everyone involved. Let’s take a closer look at why these little devices are so important to preserving the intimacy, companionship and fun that make relationships worthwhile.
Hearing loss and relationships--a look at the numbers
If you ever feel like you’re the only person struggling with hearing loss, don’t. The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) estimates that over 48 million people in the United States suffer from this incredibly common condition. Though hearing loss is treatable with hearing aids, only 1 out of 4 of the people who need these devices actually wear them. And studies confirm that those who need hearing aids but don’t wear them are indeed putting their relationships at risk.
A study conducted in the UK in 2009 British showed that out of 1,500 people with hearing loss surveyed, 44 percent believed that their hearing loss had negatively impacted their relationships with their partner, friends or family. 34 percent of people surveyed said their untreated hearing loss and the resultant communication difficulties had led to a loss of relationships, including marriages.
And in another study, published in 2007 in the ASHA Leader, 35 percent of participants stated that out of all of their relationships, the one with their romantic partner had suffered the most.
Untreated hearing loss is hard on everyone
Why does untreated hearing loss have such a profound effect on relationships? When communication begins to deteriorate, negative emotions abound. Untreated hearing loss can result in:
-feeling frustrated or lonely
-a loss of companionship
-withdrawal from social activities-less intimacy and sharing
-daily communication difficulties
-fewer shared domestic activities, such as watching TV
-an overall decrease in communication (talking is minimal)
Daily communication is key
The bottom line is that small communications, even those that may seem trivial, are important in building intimacy and creating moments of connection between people. And when those shared jokes, reflections and private moments are lost, relationships lose something essential and begin to weaken.
How can hearing aids help?
Let’s look at the positives. Hearing aids have been shown to not only improve one’s quality of life, but also to restore the well-being of a relationship that has begun to suffer due to untreated hearing loss. Hearing aids make it possible to communicate again, and all of the good things that go along with communication--long conversations, conflict resolution, stories, jokes, and funny moments will be restored as well. Without hearing difficulties to get in the way, couples can also look forward to taking part in the activities they once enjoyed together, and start making positive memories again.
Take a moment to think about the most important relationships in your life. Have they suffered as a result of your untreated hearing loss? There is no reason to your let hearing problems drive a wedge between you and those you love the most. If you have experienced communication issues due to your hearing loss, don’t delay in seeking treatment. Take the first step in repairing your relationship by making an appointment for a hearing evaluation with us at Custom Hearing Solutions today.