Invest in Your Relationships This Month by Testing your Hearing 

In Hearing Testing by Roselynn Gamboa Young, Au.D., CCC-A

Roselynn Gamboa Young, Au.D., CCC-A
Latest posts by Roselynn Gamboa Young, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)

It’s all too common to think that a subtle hearing loss is not a big problem—however small communication issues build up over time and the people closest to you start to notice. It may start with conflicts over the volume of the TV – they say you listen too loudly when it sounds just right to you. You may miss key pieces of information which cause mix-ups and extra stress for everyone around you. With Valentine’s around the corner, it’s a great time to think about the impact of hearing in your life, not only for you but for those around you—even romantic partners.

How Hearing Loss Affects Intimacy

Communication is the cornerstone to any relationship and for most of us, it’s our significant others who are there for us through thick and thin. However, this doesn’t mean a relationship won’t suffer from an unaddressed hearing loss. Hearing loss often starts slowly so you don’t even realize it’s present. It may materialize as missing just certain parts of words making conversation difficult to navigate and making it easy for mistakes to be commonplace. This of course can bring extra stress into your most cherished relationships. “Studies show that hearing loss produces feelings of frustration, embarrassment, and distress for the partner and for the relationship in general,” reports key researchers from a qualitative study of couples where one partner had hearing loss.

The study reports that “both the hearing-impaired participants and their close partners bemoaned the loss of spontaneity and the difficulties of sharing small unexpected incidents, observations and small talk in their everyday interactions.”

Communication is key to a healthy relationship

We communicate to help all the moving parts of our life run more smoothly. You may still be able to communicate about many things with your significant other, even with an unaddressed hearing loss. However, on another level, there are all sorts of subconscious ways we communicate which begin to become compromised when we go without treating a hearing loss. It’s the casual banter in the morning over coffee, inside jokes and casual dialogue which add to intimacy and closeness which often are the first to diminish when hearing loss makes communication more difficult. You and your partner may not

“All too often spouses blame each other’s ability to listen when in fact it is truly a hearing problem that is chipping away at their ability to communicate,” explains audiologist Patricia Chute, professor and chair of the Division of Health Professions at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

Negative Emotional Effect of Living with Hearing Loss 

Here are just some of the common effects of avoiding a hearing loss on your relationships:

  • Frustration
  • Resentment builds as you are constantly compensating for your partner’s hearing loss, becoming an interpreter and getting used to constant confusions.
  • Loneliness even when together
  • Less shared social interactions together
  • Decrease in intimate talk and jokes
  • Words begin to be kept to a minimum as communication issues take over.

Addressing a Hearing Loss

Many people put off hearing loss for years. In some cases, the hearing loss starts subtle enough to develop undetected. However, in so many instances the person affected knows for years but is living in denial or avoidance. Hearing loss often has a stigma of seeming old or weak. These are attitudes which need to change on a societal level. When we can treat hearing loss, we give ourselves a chance to reconnect with the people in our lives and make our relationships stronger as we age together.

The most common treatment for hearing loss are hearing aids and while at first you may be resistant to the idea, consider what they can do for you and the people in your life. Hearing aids amplify the sounds and tones you struggle to hear, based upon a hearing exam— making it easier to build intimacy and connection every day.

A Valentine for All

These Valentines give the people in your life the gift of feeling heard. In just a few weeks you will start to see a change in how you can connect to people every day, making you more likely to get out, try new things, socialize, and connect to those closest to you. Your loved one’s will notice. The first step is scheduling a hearing exam with us today!