Connecting People | May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

Connecting People | May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

In Communication, Hearing Loss by Christa N. Smith, Au.D., CCC-A

Christa N. Smith, Au.D., CCC-A

The adage “April showers bring May flowers” is a nice reminder that enduring the difficult times can be necessary to truly experience the pleasure of the good times. Without the rain and gloom, the flowers wouldn’t be able to show us their vivid display of sensory delights. This principle applies to so much in life, and the annual cycle of the seasons is a good way to understand our social lives, as well. In much of the world, the wintry months keep us indoors, unwilling to brave the elements unnecessarily. With the approach of spring, however, we are eager to get out and reconnect with our friends and loved ones after the isolating experience of winter weather. 

Each May, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association celebrates Better Hearing and Speech Month. They take this opportunity to celebrate the efforts of those who support people with hearing and speech impairment, including family members, healthcare workers, and other support personnel. They also use the month to give visibility to the many people who live with hearing and speech issues. Each year, they choose a theme, and this year’s slogan is “Connecting People.” With the month of May as an opportunity to get outdoors and see your loved ones once again, what better opportunity to honor this theme of connection and strong relationships. Those who have untreated hearing loss often experience challenges in their relationships. The best way to connect people with hearing loss is to get treatment, so let’s look at some of the ways you can help your loved ones make the move from hearing loss to treatment. 

Hearing Loss and Social Disconnection

The sad reality is that those who have untreated hearing loss are more likely to experience social disconnection and isolation. When hearing loss gets in the way of communication ability, some people avoid engagement altogether. The prospect of trying to carry on a conversation that is impeded by confusion and mishearing things can be embarrassing. Rather than disclosing that they have hearing loss, some people try to play along, and inevitably something will be lost in the interaction. 

This potential embarrassment can be a source of anxiety about social engagements and even simple excursions into the world for errands and basic life activities. When the world feels like a threat of frustration, anxiety, and confusion, some people recede from social life altogether. Declining invitations for parties, dinners at loud restaurants, and holiday gatherings can make these people feel disconnected from their closest loved ones. The anxiety over a confusing conversation in the community can lead to disconnection with neighbors, as well. 

Treatment and Social Connection

The good news is that this story of social disconnection is only one side of the story. Indeed, those who have untreated hearing loss are at risk of the negative mental and physical health effects of social isolation. However, getting treatment can repair these broken connections with others. Some people feel frustration and hurt feelings when their loved ones with untreated hearing loss can’t communicate like they once did. Whereas they used to be able to communicate directly about their feelings, needs, and thoughts, hearing loss might have come between them. 

Getting treatment makes it possible to repair these relationships. When assistance is in place, it is possible to share these intimate details of our lives and to connect once again. Just like the winter can bring a feeling of social isolation to all of us, hearing loss can do the same for our relationships. Once hearing aids are in place, it’s almost like the May flowers that come after a cloudy April. If you have untreated hearing loss, why wait any longer? Our hearing health professionals can diagnose your needs and recommend hearing aids to suit your individual condition. 

When hearing aids are in use, you can reap the beautiful benefits of social connection once again. As well, if you have a loved one with untreated hearing loss, this spring is a perfect opportunity to encourage treatment. As the weather improves and the environment puts on its daily parade of sensory pleasures, hearing aids can facilitate enjoyment between you and social connection in beautiful sounding world.