Most people recognize that marriage can have its up’s and down’s, and often, it’s about compromise. But if you ask a lot of long-term couples what their secret to success is, chances are the response will be “communication”.
The ability to communicate with your loved ones, and in particular, your spouse, is essential to a good relationship. Whether you’re talking about your feelings or simple things such as the day’s activities or an upcoming trip you’re planning, keeping a steady dialogue promotes a sense of closeness and lets your partner gauge your mood!
If the ability to communicate is hindered, it can cause serious rifts in a relationship. Frustration and anxiety are common side effects of untreated hearing loss. Depression is also something that is fairly commonplace amongst people experiencing hearing loss – in fact, older people with hearing loss are 2.5 times more likely to develop depression than those without it.
These issues can be difficult to handle for the person experiencing them, as well as their partner.
A recent survey from the UK, surveying 1,500 people over the age of 55, found that nearly half (44%) of those surveyed said that their relationships with loved ones had suffered as a result of untreated hearing loss. In addition, over a third (34%) had seen relationships with friends or, in some cases, with their spouse, fall apart due to the issues they experienced with hearing loss.
In an American study, a significant 65% of respondents said that they get annoyed when their partner can’t hear them. For someone with severe, untreated hearing loss, that could mean a lot of frustration in the household!
Hearing aids work to amplify sound vibrations entering the ear. By definition, inner ear hair cells will have become damaged over time – generally due to aging and exposure to noise throughout life.
The hair cells that are still effective, however, will work with the hearing device to pick up the larger sound vibrations and transmit those signals to the brain. By amplifying the vibrations, this means that hair cells can pick up more vibrations, and the brain can process more information as a result.
The ability to hear a conversation more clearly or even just being able to hear birds chirping whilst sitting in the back garden can significantly improve quality of life generally and, specifically, improve relationships with loved ones.
The positive side to these results is that studies actually show that hearing devices can help people overcome difficulties with communication – often with the result of significantly improved relationships with family members.
There are other benefits as well. Treating hearing loss with hearing instruments can also lead to better social inclusion, with a greater willingness to engage in social activities and exercise. There is also a clear link between treating hearing loss and better performance in the workplace.
Hearing aids can clearly help to improve communication skills, but mending relationships that have become strained due to untreated hearing loss can benefit from actually involving your significant other in your treatment. Studies indicate that when support and education about communication strategies and hearing loss more generally is provided to partners, there can be a result of an increase in overall satisfaction and quality of life.
One American study found that 57% of respondents felt that their spouse was reluctant to get their hearing checked, and 46% thought that denial was the main reason for that reluctance.
Denial is a powerful deterrent to treating hearing loss. As hearing loss often occurs over time, it’s easy to get into a situation where you think that you can hear just fine – but often, this denial creates challenging situations for our loved ones. It’s important to remember the negative impacts that untreated hearing loss can have on quality of life and relationships. Essentially, it’s better to be on the safe side and get your hearing checked!
If you suspect – or know! – that you are experiencing hearing loss, don’t let it continue to affect you and your loved ones. The hearing professionals at House of Hearing can help to detect and treat your hearing loss.
House of Hearing offers hearing care at five centres in Edinburgh, Galashiels, Morpeth, Perth, and St Andrews. Call us on 0131 220 1220 for more information.