The effects of hearing loss on relationships can range from occasional annoyance to profound communication difficulties. However, this does not have to be the case. The key to mending rocky relationships due to hearing loss is recognizing one’s limitations and acting in positive ways to counteract them.
Often, patients arrive in an audiology clinic because of a family member. Whether it is a husband, a wife, a son, a daughter, or even a grandchild, the family member becomes tired of dealing with their loved one’s hearing loss. And frequently the patient does not see how much their hearing loss affects relationships with loved ones.
These unmotivated patients have serious hurdles they need to overcome to start the task of mending stressed relationships. Whether it is denial, perceived selflessness, or misplaced frugality, many people resist taking the first step to correct their hearing loss.
A major factor in the resistance to treat hearing loss comes from the way that hearing loss occurs. Hearing loss usually does not happen all of a sudden. Hearing loss is a gradual process that, on average, takes approximately 7 years for people address. It is like the proverbial frog in the pot of boiling water. The loss occurs so gradually that it is hard for the person affected to realize that there is a real problem.
Just as hearing loss occurs gradually, the frustration of family members with their loved one can gradually build until there is an explosion of negative emotion. The draining effects of having to constantly repeat oneself can lead to frustration, resentment, or anger. At times loved ones may feel trapped due to the denial or the inactivity of their hearing impaired family member. Sometimes the relationship of people with hearing loss and their loved ones devolve into a relationship of the hearing impaired and the personal interpreter. These situations can lead loved ones to retaliate through avoidance, argument, or verbal abuse. However, as stated earlier, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Recognizing and admitting the fact that one has a hearing loss and then being willing to take proactive corrective measures can go a long way toward reestablishing meaningful and satisfying relationships. While hearing aids are the most appropriate solution for many patients dealing with hearing loss, every case is different. There are a variety of hearing solutions available, including hearing aids, assistive listening devices, even surgery and implants. If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, please reach out to a reputable audiologist who can help begin the process of better hearing. Your treasured relationships have so much to gain.