Changes in your relationships with friends and family can reveal the presence of untreated hearing loss. Though hearing loss is one of the most common medical conditions that people experience today, it is often underdiagnosed. Impairment typically occurs gradually so changes to hearing health can remain unnoticed for a while. So if you have experienced frustrating interactions with loved ones or are finding conversations to be more difficult than usual; you may be experiencing gradual hearing loss. One of the most significant effects of untreated hearing loss is strained relationships. It is important to pay attention to symptoms and your engagement with others so that you can intervene and address your hearing loss early.
Impact of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss reduces a person’s ability to perceive and process sound which takes a toll on both hearing and communication. This results in various symptoms that make it challenging to navigate conversations. Common symptoms include:
- Tinnitus: often called “ringing of the ears”, is a buzzing, ringing, or clicking like noise that can be experienced in one or both ears
- Increasing the volume on devices like the television
- Having to ask others to repeat themselves, speak louder, and/or slower
- Sounds are muffled so distinguishing words is difficult
- Needing to move to a different, quieter space to have a conversation
These symptoms are among several that can be experienced mildly to severely, really impacting communication. Conversations become incredibly difficult to participate in so people with untreated hearing loss can often retreat socially. Social withdrawal may look like skipping out on events, spending less time with family and friends, and engaging less in social activities. Not only does this impact mental health and wellness, but it can often strain relationships.
How Hearing Loss Strains Relationships
Untreated hearing loss drastically affects communication which is the foundation for healthy relationships. This can strain relationships in a variety of ways including the following:
- Loved ones feel ignored: untreated hearing loss reduces capacity to hear and process sound which makes understanding and following a conversation challenging. While attempting to hear, people can ask others to repeat themselves or ask for clarification. Loved ones often report feeling ignored or like they are not being listened to. This can make them feel like you are not invested in what they are saying which can lead to conflict or tension.
- Lack of quality time: quality time involves intimate conversation, small moments, laughter, etc. Untreated hearing loss makes it harder to talk for hours, hear whispered jokes, and fully enjoy the little things that bring you closer to others.
- Conversations are difficult: interactions can become frustrating when conversations involve miscommunication or lack of clarity. People may move towards cutting conversations short or retreating from interacting with others.
These effects of untreated hearing loss can cause everyone involved to feel isolated, unheard, and lonely. This can lead to distance, tension, and consistent conflict which erodes connection. Treating hearing loss not only transforms hearing health but also strengthens relationships.
Benefits of Treatment
The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids. Hearing aids are electronic devices that are advanced pieces of technology designed to provide ample hearing support. These devices help absorb, amplify, and process sound which enables people to hear more clearly and with less effort. Being able to hear and navigate conversations with greater ease strengthens relationships in countless ways:
- People are able to express their thoughts, listen to others actively, and participate more fully in conversations which enhances connection.
- Hearing aids enrich social life by making it easier to hear across all environments, in conversations and activities with multiple people, and social spaces.
- Interacting with loved ones is improved as hearing aids alleviate symptoms that often prevent effective communication.
These benefits restore confidence and a sense of self which contributes to a positive outlook and more energy. This strengthens communication and the time spent with others. Treating hearing loss enhances overall health and quality of life in all aspects. Take the steps to prioritize your hearing health today. You can do this by scheduling an appointment for a hearing test. Facilitated by a hearing healthcare specialist, hearing tests establish your needs and the best ways to meet those needs! Call us to get started today.