While hearing loss affects over 37 million Americans, many people assume that the effects of hearing loss are simply an inability to hear certain sounds. However, the consequences of hearing loss are many, including those that reach beyond missing high frequency sounds like birds chirping outside or the grandkids playing downstairs
Many people in the nation are affected by hearing loss. Many studies have tackled how hearing loss values one thing many people value above all else: their relationships with others. Primarily, hearing loss impacts your ability to talk on the phone or follow conversations in noisy environments.
Hearing Loss Is Detrimental to Your Health
Hearing loss affects much more than just your hearing. It affects your mind and body.
Hearing loss leads to social isolation, withdrawal from social situations, and struggling with anxiety over meeting new people. Even meeting friends becomes challenging, as you feel embarrassed because you can’t understand half of what’s being said.
Hearing loss is also linked to depression, early onset of dementia, and more rapid cognitive decline. For those living with untreated hearing loss, the effects of this condition on your relationships with friends, family, and even your spouse can be profound.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
To delve into how hearing loss affects you, we need to first look at what causes it. Several factors affect hearing health, such as exposure to loud noise, music played at loud volumes, injury, illnesses, earwax buildup, and even some medications like antibiotics and painkillers.
However, aging remains the most significant cause of hearing loss. As the body ages, the hair cells in the inner ear slowly begin to break down, affecting your ability to listen and interpret the sounds happening around you.
As people age, the number of those suffering from hearing loss increases exponentially. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 25% of seniors over 60 have hearing loss, and this number jumps to over 50% for those 75 or older.
Hearing Loss Makes Life a Challenge
When you’re in a relationship with someone who can’t hear well, even simple daily life activities become a challenge. The main problem is communication. When someone doesn’t hear clearly, even simple conversations can become frustrating, as hard hearing often results in requests for sentences to be repeated, an interruption, or a general sense of confusion.
People with hearing loss will often mishear words and sentences and reply inappropriately, providing responses that may not make sense in the situation. It’s common for a person with hearing loss to deny they have an issue, often deflecting the blame, accusing others of mumbling or speaking too softly.
A person with hearing loss can get tired of shouting or being frequently misunderstood. Fights over things like the TV volume, what a friend said while visiting or over the phone, or forgetting/not hearing things because of a lack of communication are expected.
For those with hearing loss, social situations become increasingly difficult with the confusion surrounding background noise and multiple conversations going on at once. Soon the partner of a person with hearing loss may find themselves going to visit friends alone, as their spouse chooses to stay home rather than face a difficult social situation.
A recent survey found that living with hearing loss leads to more arguments and places a strain on marriages, significantly increasing divorce chances. In marriages where one person has untreated hearing loss, the divorce rates are up to four times higher than in couples with normal hearing.
What You Can Do
If you see this pattern in your relationship as you or your loved one struggles with hearing loss, there’s a simple solution. Seek professional help and get your hearing tested immediately. Don’t allow your relationship to suffer or let hearing loss dictate how you communicate with your spouse or how you interact with your friends.
If you or someone you know in the Las Vegas area needs professional help for hearing-related ailments, contact Hearing Associates of Las Vegas immediately. Merely coming in for a consultation could have a profound effect on your quality of life or the relationships you hold dear.