Can't Hear You!

How Untreated Hearing Loss Interferes with Your Relationships

In Hearing Loss by Hearing Technology Associates

If you’re living with untreated hearing loss, you may not realize how much it’s affecting your relationships. Hearing loss can make communication difficult and lead to feelings of isolation, whether it’s with your spouse, your kids, or your friends. If you’re struggling to connect with the people you care about, treatment for hearing loss can help. Read on to learn more about how untreated hearing loss can interfere with your relationships and what you can do about it.

Untreated hearing loss hurts your relationships

Hearing loss is a prevalent condition affecting millions of Americans of all ages. If allowed to progress untreated, hearing loss can have a profound impact on communication and relationships. People with hearing loss may have difficulty understanding spoken words, particularly in noisy environments. They may also experience tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears, which can be annoying and disruptive. In severe cases, hearing loss can lead to isolation and social withdrawal. These symptoms often lead people to engage in the following impractical techniques when communicating:

  • Constantly requesting the speaker to either reiterate themselves or to talk louder and slower
  • Trying to figure out words they have misheard by attempting to read lips
  • Acting like they have no issue hearing and pretending they fully comprehend the dialogue 

When people experience symptoms like these, it can be very distracting and impedes successful communication. As a result, they may find that they are always overexerting themselves when trying to engage in conversation. This can often lead to miscommunication or partial comprehension of the dialogue, which prevents people from being fully committed to the discussion. In turn, this strained communication can impact relationships in several ways:

  • The quality and duration of conversations are significantly decreased 
  • Tension arises as people assume they are being ignored or unheard
  • Enjoyment from favorite activities becomes minimized
  • Barriers in communication inhibit nuances such as inside jokes, intimacy, and casual small talk

Negative emotions and impacts of untreated hearing loss

The impact of hearing loss can be far-reaching, affecting not just the individual with the impairment but also their loved ones. The communication difficulties that come with hearing loss can lead to distance and stress in relationships, as well as resentment. If left untreated, hearing loss will only get worse, amplifying these symptoms and putting even more strain on relationships. Eventually, even the most supportive partners in relationships begin to wear thin on patience. The following are among the multitude of negative emotions and impacts between partners dealing with untreated hearing loss:

  • Loneliness sets in as the person with hearing impairment feel disconnected and isolated, while the partner feels a lack of companionship
  • Resentment builds over time as the impaired person’s partner gets tired of compensating for their hearing loss (e.g., constantly translating for them and reiterating things they failed to hear)
  • Frustration grows from perpetual miscommunication and misunderstanding between partners and leads to grievances for both parties, damaging their bond

Tips for encouraging your partner to address their hearing health

Imagine constantly having to ask people to repeat themselves or feeling like everyone is always mumbling. Now imagine not even realizing that it has become problematic. This is the reality for many people who suffer from hearing loss. While it can be frustrating to live with someone who has trouble hearing, it’s essential to approach the situation with care and understanding. 

Set aside some time to talk when you’re both in good spirits, and there are no external distractions. Use a firm, caring tone and avoid sounding judgemental or condescending. With patience and understanding, you can help your loved one get the help they need to preserve the quality of your relationship. 

  • Tell them it’s hurting your relationship: Although your partner may be worried about the stigma of hearing loss, let them know gently that it is putting a strain on your relationship. Successful communication is vital to a healthy relationship, and their condition is impeding its growth. 
  • Let them know your concern for their well-being: When hearing loss remains untreated, risk factors for developing serious cognitive diseases multiply. Additionally, atrophy of the brain’s language and speech-processing faculties can lead to auditory deprivation. 
  • Make them aware you’re worried about your own health: In addition to coping with their hearing impairment, the added stress of also worrying about their overall health can have negative impacts on your own mental and physical well-being. 

Don’t let untreated hearing loss affect your relationship. If you need further information or advice, do not hesitate to contact us today!