Hearing loss can be a strain, not just for the person who can’t hear but also for their friends and family. Hearing loss affects all your relationships, from the once-a-week friends you see at the cafe to your spouse or family member every day. This is because it makes it hard to talk to people clearly and effectively. The best thing you can do for your relationships is to treat your hearing loss as soon as you notice changes in your hearing.
Age-related hearing loss
Presbycusis, which is also called age-related hearing loss, affects a lot of older people. One-third of seniors over 65 have hearing loss, up to half of those over 75. Age-related hearing loss can happen when the cells in your ear are slowly damaged or killed by the normal wear and tear of hearing for a lifetime. This is a normal part of the aging process. If you think you won’t be affected by hearing loss, you should think again. You or someone you care about will lose their hearing, and if it isn’t treated, it could hurt your relationships.
How hearing loss affects relationships in older adults
You’ll soon realize that losing your hearing significantly affects your relationships. Your hearing loss is about a lot more than having to strain to hear your favorite soap opera on TV or missing the phone sometimes when it rings. Communication is the key to every relationship, whether with the barista at your local coffee shop, your grandkids, or your partner. You can’t have a good relationship with someone if you can’t talk to them well.
The key to a healthy relationship is talking to each other daily. Even if your hearing loss doesn’t seem to be affecting you, you may find that you don’t talk as much as you used to. All the little things you used to say to each other add to a lot of communication you no longer have. This hurts communication and intimacy and makes you and your spouse feel alone and isolated.
It’s not surprising that academics have also found that the inability to hear can affect the relationships of those with hearing loss. A French study from 2016 that was published in Doverpress looked at couples where only one person had trouble hearing. The most shocking thing the study found was that both the hearing spouse and the hearing spouse had a lower quality of life. Both people in the relationship said they felt anxious and stressed and often got angry when they tried to talk to each other. The person with hearing loss avoided going out with other people and felt alone and isolated, which made their quality of life very low.
How to help yourself and the people you care about
Hearing loss affects more than just the person who has it. It affects everyone around them as well. If you have trouble hearing, your whole family has to deal with it. The study examining how your hearing loss affects those around you found that couples who worked together to find solutions had the best results. Everyone’s life was better when they used ways to deal with stress, like solving problems or thinking positively.
If you’ve been hesitant about getting your hearing checked or a hearing aid, it’s time to look at the bigger picture. Think about your family and friends and how much you miss being able to talk to them. Also, think about how your hearing loss affects their lives. Even though they have trouble hearing, the average American will wait five to seven years to get a hearing aid.
Getting a hearing test and a hearing aid isn’t just for you; it’s for all your loved ones who miss being able to call you on the phone, say hi at the weekly brunch you stopped going to a few months ago, or drop by for tea and a chat. And it’s about your partner, who, even though they can hear, is struggling just as much as you are. If you’re ready to make a change and start talking again, come and see our trained team and hearing specialists. We will help you find the proper treatment to help you and your relationships.