If there is a significant other in your life (friend or family) who has a hearing loss, then this article is for you. Relationships can be trying. However, being in a relationship with someone who has an untreated hearing loss is a frustrating experience on a good day. Never are you more acutely aware of how much you take for granted others ability to hear until you are repeating yourself two or three times an hour. How often are you enduring the TV louder than you would prefer? And do you find yourself stating over and over, “No, that’s not what I said, that’s just what you thought you heard.
Communicating with someone who has an untreated hearing loss is exhausting and frustrating. Frankly, it is also somewhat selfish of them to expect you to become their hearing aids. If you make sure you’re in another room, avoid conversation at all costs or sit suffering silently through yet another television program loud enough to be heard two blocks away, it’s time for an intervention.
The Impact of Hearing Loss on Your Relationships
A British study illuminated the harm that is done when one partner has a hearing loss left untreated. The survey of 1,500 hearing-impaired people over 55 found the following:
- Almost one in two (44% of people) said that relationships with their partner, friends, or family had suffered because they can’t hear properly.
- A third (34%) have lost touch with friends, and in some cases seen marriages fall apart, as a direct result of the breakdown in communication caused by hearing loss.
- Two thirds (69%) said their hearing loss seriously hinders their ability to take part in everyday conversations with friends and family, causing 52% of those surveyed to feel left out and ignored in social situations.
- Women (72%) were found to be more affected by social exclusion because of hearing loss than men
- Almost half (49%) said that losing their hearing is the worst thing about growing old.
It’s time to sit them down and have a conversation about getting help for their hearing loss, a conversation that’s probably long overdue. Explain what they are missing. Explain how much you are compensating for their problem. And explain that when you’re not compensating, you’re avoiding interaction because you’re just too tired to deal with the volume of the TV or their frequent need for repetitions.
Maybe they aren’t aware of how much their problem has become everyone else’s problem. You aren’t doing yourself or your loved one any favors by trying to sugarcoat the severity of the problem. Resolve to get them the help they need before another day goes by.