Although hearing loss is extremely common, affecting approximately 48 million Americans, only about one in five people who could benefit from hearing aids actually wears them. There are many reasons for this, most based on misconceptions like “hearing aids will make me look old” or “my hearing isn’t bad enough to need hearing aids.” Unfortunately, there are often harmful outcomes of these attitudes, particularly when it comes to relationships. We review how wearing hearing aids can help you avoid relationship problems below.
The Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss on Relationships
One study called, “Impact of self-assessed hearing loss on a spouse: a longitudinal analysis of couples,” found, “Spouse hearing loss increased the likelihood of subsequent poorer physical, psychological, and social well-being in partners. The negative impact of husbands’ hearing loss on wives’ well-being appears stronger than the reverse.”
Some of the ways spouses are affected include:
People with untreated hearing loss tend to crank up the volume on the TV or radio, usually much louder than is comfortable for others in the house. This, in turn, leads to people needing to raise their voices or even shout to be heard over the sounds coming from the speakers, which can make your tone seem aggressive or annoyed.
Problems with Phone Conversations
A notoriously difficult listening situation for people with untreated hearing loss is phone conversations. This is because visual cues like lipreading, facial expressions and gestures are missing. Not only can it be difficult for your partner to have a phone conversation with you, but they may also find themselves making phone calls for you, like to the doctor’s office, creating an unequal division of labor.
If you have untreated hearing loss, you’re also more likely to withdraw socially from people and activities you once enjoyed, like date nights at Boca on Eighth Street. This could stem from anxiety about potentially mishearing what people are saying and responding inappropriately or from the listening fatigue you experience when trying to follow along. Your partner may find they are also becoming socially isolated or that they have to navigate social situations without you there with them.
Any couples counselor will tell you that communication is the key to healthy relationships. When you can’t hear well, your communication will be affected—from smaller inside jokes to bigger, more important conversations.
What You Can Do
To prevent feelings of frustration and stress for your partner and to improve the quality of your relationship, schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist at Carolina Ear Nose & Throat – Sinus and Allergy Center who can diagnose and prescribe treatment for your hearing loss.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Carolina Ear Nose & Throat – Sinus and Allergy Center today.