Treat Your Hearing Loss to Improve Relationships

Treat Your Hearing Loss to Improve Your Relationships

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

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

The Quiet Epidemic 

Hearing health frequently does not get the respect it deserves as a cornerstone of your quality of life. Your overall health depends upon your hearing health just as much as it depends on a healthy diet, exercise, and proper rest. Consider these three statistics about hearing health and together they will give you a perspective on just how prevalent hearing loss is and sadly, how it is almost just as equally common to deny or downplay it. 

Just about three out of every 1,000 births in the U.S. results in some detectable degree of congenital hearing loss. Thanks to all the many factors that lead to hearing loss, by the time we are considering people aged 75 years old and older, that same 1,000 people would include over 500 people with hearing loss. Put another way, more than half of everyone over the age of 75 years old suffers from hearing loss. 

Hold this fact in your mind while you consider that less than one out of every five people with hearing loss seeks appropriate treatment. More than 80% of everyone with hearing loss disregards proper treatment to mitigate its effects. 

And of that small group of people that does seek help, they have waited an average of seven years to do so. That is seven years from the time that they first suspected that they might be suffering from hearing loss and finally committing to a daily habit of wearing their aids. 

Mapping The Unnecessary Suffering  

The most obvious side effect of failure to treat hearing loss with the respect it deserves is the risk to one’s physical safety. It compromises your awareness when navigating crowds or traffic. And even in the most controlled environments, your own home, by yourself, your balance depends on your hearing, so the risk of injury from accidental falls or bumps is significantly heightened. But so much more than your physical safety is put at risk. 

If you feel overwhelmed in a crowd or dizzy, you feel disoriented and frustrated, which leads to anxiety. These feelings are compounded by the fact that you probably do not know why exactly you are feeling them. Hearing loss comes on so gradually that in most cases, people do not even recognize that it is happening to them. It is impossible to notice. All someone knows for sure is that they are more quickly fatigued than ever before. 

As your hearing goes, you expend all this extra energy to comprehend others and piece together meaning without even recognizing that you are doing so. This predictably leads to social withdrawal, which predictably leads to loneliness. Loneliness leads to depression and all the negative feelings reaffirm each other’s strongholds on you. 

Beyond all the spiraling behavioral consequences, there is also a very real cognitive effect. In response to the new stress placed upon them, the neural pathways of your brain literally rewrite themselves, which quite literally scrambles your thinking and further depletes your energy. It is not uncommon for someone to behave erratically to attempt to regain what they perceive as their loss of control. And such erratic behavior complicates relationships that are already strained.

Relationships Are the Building Blocks to Quality of Life

Relationships are the building blocks from which we create our quality of life. Relationships depend on communication. And it is communication that is most significantly impacted by hearing loss. It is the trust and intimacy that we build and sustain with others that is most significantly damaged by hearing loss. 

The secrets we share depend on hushed tones and such wished tones become almost impossible  with hearing loss. The jokes we share depend on subtle timing that will not survive repeated requests to repeat yourself. The rhythms and flow of conversation twist and tangle.

Take Control of Your Own Destiny Today

Hearing aids are an investment and they require adapting, but consider the rush you’ll feel when the details of your own life returning to you in vivid detail: the squeak in your grandchild’s laugh; a melody from your childhood when you least expect it; the steady bubbling of a creek that had faded from your awareness. But most significantly, communicating simply with your loved ones.  

With proper treatment hearing loss should impact your life no more than wearing eyeglasses. Commit to facing your hearing health with the gravity it deserves. Make an appointment with one of our specialists today.