Communication and Healthy Relationships
Healthy communication is the foundation of healthy relationships. Conversation is how people share themselves and their inner worlds with one another. It is how we make jokes, provide support, and make professions of love.
Healthy relationships are an on-going, ever-changing process. Often times, poor communication leads to unhealthy relationships, in which people become frustrated and isolated. In some instances, poor communication happens due to hearing loss, which may directly affect your relationships.
Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss
For 48 million Americans, hearing loss is a part of their lives. It is the third most common condition in the US, affecting 20% of the population.
Hearing loss occurs for a number of reasons, but most commonly it is due to aging or to exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time. Hearing specialists recommend that people at 50 should begin to have annual hearing exams – much as one would a physical exam or an eye exam.
The signs of hearing loss may at first be subtle and grow stronger over time. Things like turning up the volume too high or asking someone to repeat what they’ve said multiple times are common signs of hearing loss. Speech recognition abilities are affected by untreated hearing loss, making it more difficult for people to understand what people are saying to them.
Leaving hearing loss untreated comes with a number of consequences, such as an increased risk of dementia, falls, and hospitalizations. People with untreated hearing loss tend to earn less than colleagues with normal hearing. Untreated hearing loss also greatly affects a person’s social life, with increased stress, anxiety, and depression which leads to isolation and loneliness.
Essentially, by treating hearing loss, people are able to return to their normal lives – engaging socially, partaking in activities, and entering social situations with confidence.
How to Talk to Your Loved One about Hearing Loss
It is estimated that people wait seven years from the time they first experience signs of hearing loss until the time they decide to seek treatment. Our brains process sound, and with hearing loss, the neural pathways that transmit sound signals tend to dull from under use. Seeking treatment as soon as possible would prevent a deterioration of these pathways.
Discussing hearing loss is a sensitive topic. We recommend that you research the signs of hearing loss, hearing exams, and the many options available to treat hearing loss. Choose a calm time and a quiet place to have this conversation with your loved one. Chances are, your loved one is already feeling trepidation about the changes in their hearing. Opening up channels of communication will allow you both to discuss your frustrations and fears, and also to set a course of action together. As you support your loved on through this transition, it will deepen your bond.
Happy Valentine’s Day from The Atlanta Hearing Doctor!