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If you have a loved one with hearing loss, you may be familiar with some of the ways that condition can affect your relationship. Unfortunately, the most intense effects of hearing loss tend to occur with a significant other or romantic partner. Indeed, a recent study from 2007 in the ASHA Leader (American Speech-Hearing-Language Association) reported that 35 percent of respondents said that out of all their relationships, the relationship with a significant other suffered most from hearing loss. In such close proximity, it is possible to voice frustrations without considering the effects of our speech. Similarly, we expect those closest to us to be able to hear and respond to what we say, but hearing loss can get in the way of fulfilling that basic expectation. Let’s take a moment to explore some of the negative effects of hearing loss on intimate relationships before taking a positive look at the ways our lives can improve with hearing treatment.
Although it is important to communicate the whole range of emotion to those we love, expressing constant negativity can take its toll on others. Unfortunately, hearing loss can lead to a number of negative emotions. Those who have untreated hearing loss tend to feel frustrated, angry, and short-tempered. They can become resentful of those who can hear or those who do not respond to them as they would like. Compounded on these feelings are the effects of social isolation. Those who have hearing loss are more likely to spend time alone, and they may even avoid social engagements in order to save themselves from feelings of embarrassment or frustration over the inability to hear. Tragically, these forms of avoidance only serve to compound negative emotion, and some even fall into depression. When these negative emotions occur, the significant others and intimate partners often take the brunt of negativity. This constant flow of harsh emotion can take its toll on a relationship, indeed.
Those who struggle to hear also find themselves missing out on essential forms of communication with intimate partners. Not only are direct conversations important to keeping relationships healthy and strong, but casual asides and brief moments of humor are important, as well. These small quips that are peppered into our daily lives can build a feeling of connection and trust with our loved ones. However, hearing loss gets in the way of our ability to communicate in both big and small ways with those we love. Although a person may be asking questions, a loved one with hearing loss cannot listen and respond. Important information may be missed, as well, particularly when the hearing loss is unacknowledged.
Finally, those with hearing loss can find their intimate relationships suffering from feeling misunderstood. The experience of hearing loss can be isolating and frightening, but it is essential to explain these feelings to our loved ones in order to be heard and supported. Too many people go on with untreated hearing loss and miss the opportunity to share their feelings with those they loved most. Being able to talk about our experiences is crucial to sharing a life with someone, and hearing loss is one of these essential life experiences that must be communicated.
Treating Hearing Loss and Strengthening Relationships
The good news is that treatment is available for most forms of hearing loss, and that treatment can remedy each of these struggles. When it comes to an intimate partner, conversation is essential to building a healthy and strong connection. If you are the one who suspects hearing loss, why not take the step for yourself and seek treatment? The first step will be to get a hearing exam, and that appointment will catapult you toward a fresh new start. On the other hand, if you think your loved one might have hearing loss, find a way to communicate your concerns right away. The sooner they seek assistance and the possibility of hearing aids, the sooner you will be able to build a stronger connection. Once hearing ability is regained through assistance, you will be thrilled at the negativity you can overcome and the new connections you can build.