Our relationships with other human beings are the most important things in our lives. Talking with friends and family is how we shape our experiences in our memories, as well as inspire one another to get out into the world and have new experiences. It is our best way to share what we know with the next generation, as well as to find out how the next generation is experiencing the world from their own point of view. Even watching television together is a way that we connect to one another, forming and maintaining lasting bonds that lend crucial emotional support through life’s ups and downs.
Hearing Loss is Common Among Americans
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) reports that over 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. That’s almost 7% of Americans of any age, making it an incredibly common phenomenon. Unfortunately, 75% of people who have hearing loss are not currently being treated for it.
If left untreated, this normal hearing loss can make it increasingly difficult to hold meaningful conversations with our loved ones. Here at Neighborhood Hearing Aid Center, we wish to focus on our connections to one another and provide love and support to those close to us. In order to do this, we need to be able to clearly hear and understand what they are saying to us. Hearing aids are a simple and effective treatment that can help us stay attuned to others and the world around us.
Good Listening is Important in Our Relationships
In a six-year study conducted by John Gottman, (https://www.gottman.com/blog/turn-toward-instead-of-away/) couples in successful marriages had an 86% rate of responding positively to one another’s bids for attention. Often when we are having trouble hearing another person, we will simply dismiss what they have just said and move on with the conversation. But these dismissive moments add up quickly, leaving many lost opportunities for connection in their wake. The sooner we recognize that we are having difficulty hearing and get our hearing tested, the fewer of these crucial moments of connection we sacrifice.
A study by Action on Hearing Loss, called “In It Together: The Impact of Hearing Loss on Personal Relationships,” sought to explain the different ways our relationships can be impacted by hearing loss. It found that even in relationships where the partner of a person with hearing loss was aware and supportive of the issue, they still often failed to understand the fatigue or difficulty hearing in crowds that comes along with hearing loss. An overwhelming majority of those surveyed, both those experiencing hearing loss and their hearing partners, indicated that hearing loss had changed the character of their relationship. Even the most supportive loved ones will appreciate us making the effort to improve our hearing with hearing aids, so they can rely on us to be as responsive to them as they are to us.
Untreated Hearing Loss Strains Our Relationships
In this British study, 660 of 1,500 respondents with untreated hearing loss said that it had caused their relationships to suffer, with 510 citing it as a major factor in a divorce, separation or loss of a friendship. It is clear that our failure to be present in our relationships, whether due to inattentiveness or to something beyond our control such as a hearing problem, will cause them to suffer, and possibly end. Even if our loved ones are able to endure our inability to converse normally with them, we will feel lonelier ourselves, isolated from communicating freely with those around us.
It’s been shown over and over that those of us with untreated hearing loss will shy away from social engagements, avoiding situations where our inability to hear others makes participation difficult. This can chip away at our sociability, making us more and more isolated as time goes by.
Treating Hearing Loss Now Improves Our Relationships
Dealing with our hearing difficulties now by scheduling an appointment for a hearing test can keep us feeling good with our partners and loved ones. Hearing aids allow us to enjoy our time with friends and family, and for them to feel the same with us, whether we are conversing or even watching television together. Ultimately, they allow us to feel invigorated and present throughout our lives, as we continue to keep our relationships going and enjoy fresh experiences with those closest to us.