Our relationships help us feel connected to one another and engaged with the world. When people struggle to communicate our relationships at home and work begin to suffer. With 466 million people in the world affected by debilitating hearing loss this is one of the most common issues people face when communication becomes compromised.
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, an annual campaign from the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) “to raise awareness and promote treatment that can improve quality of life for those who experience problems with speaking, hearing or understanding.” This year, the theme for Better Hearing and Speech Month is “Communication at Work,” which is meant to emphasize the importance of communication at home, between friends, family and co-workers.
The Importance of Social Interaction
Humans are social creatures, socializing from the time we are born. We find care and security from our parents as babies and as we grow, we continue to form social networks. Communication helps us sustain healthy and loving relationships. Hearing loss sets in gradually and the communication that holds these relationships can weaken. It is the casual conversation; the jokes and relaxed small talk that is the cornerstone of our most dear relationships. When these interactions are replaced by one having asked the other to repeat themselves and misunderstandings become commonplace, rifts can form. This is true in your friendships, life partners and even professional relationships.
When hearing loss takes over an individual’s life they may struggle to engage in the activities they once enjoyed. You may find yourself struggling to keep up with conversation and constantly miss the punchline to jokes. Your friends may start to worry why you seem so detached and unengaged. When people struggle to keep up with conversation they may choose to avoid social interaction all together. This can cause you and your friends to grow apart.
In a romantic partnership where one partner has untreated hearing loss, misunderstanding can be commonplace. A partner living with healthy hearing may feel frustrated or ignored. When hearing loss goes untreated it is easy to miss what the people closest to you are saying, leading to resentment and frequent arguments. The subtle verbal cues that once added nuance to your connection are no longer received and romantic relationships can start to fall apart. Both partners may avoid engagement as they grow apart from each other, fostering depression and isolation instead of the intimacy that once brought them both joy.
Not only can untreated hearing loss damage your friendships and romantic relationships but can also have a negative impact on your professional performance. When you constantly struggle to hear in meetings, miss assignments and appear disconnected, the people around you often start to doubt your ability to perform effectively at your job. Promotions and chances for advancement keep on passing you by. Supervisors may mistake your hearing loss as a lack of motivation or not paying attention, especially when you continually miss social cues or ask for information to be repeated.
Hearing Aids Can Help
While most hearing loss is irreversible hearing aids can make a significant improvement in communication. Hearing aids are small electronic devices that pick up sound and deliver it directly to your ears to make it easier to hear with your existing hearing. Take the step to correct your hearing loss so that you are not separated from the people you love.
With hearing aids you will be able to hear the conversation you have been missing and begin the process of healing. You can start to rebuild your relationships, romantic and platonic that may have suffered while living with undiagnosed hearing loss. You can start to feel more connected at work as hearing aids amplify the world around you again. Remember, hearing loss does not only affect you, but everyone around you.
Deal With Your Hearing Loss
If you suspect you are dealing with hearing loss use Better Speech and Hearing Month as an inspiration to contact us for a hearing test. Dealing with your hearing loss isn’t just about hearing. It’s about connecting to the people you love and doing the things that you love to do.