“It’s not all about you” as they say, which applies to many aspects of life but is particularly true if your hearing isn’t what it used to be. Research makes it pretty clear that untreated hearing loss can be a major source of stress. There are many studies that show that hearing loss produces feelings of frustration, embarrassment and distress for the partner and for the relationship in general when talking about close relationships with family and friends and of course our significant others.
Communication is key to any healthy relationship. Day to day communication among those closest to us is imperative to a health relationship. Hearing loss can cause those small but important interactions to be lost. And this can lead to a lot of frustration on all parties.
Living with someone who can’t hear can be frustrating especially when they are unaware of the problem or simply ignore it. If they constantly ask you to repeat yourself, turn up the TV volume or have trouble hearing the phone it might be time to have a heart to heart chat. Pick a good time for you all and use a firm but caring tone. Try not to be condescending or judgemental.
Tell them how it is affecting your relationship. While your loved one might be concerned about the stigma of wearing a hearing aid, someone saying “what” all the time can be really irritating. Hearing loss affects communication which is the core of every relationship.
Tell them you are concerned for their health. When hearing loss is left untreated, the speech and language areas of the brain can waste away leading to auditory deprivation and an increased risk of cognitive decline.
Tell them you are concerned for your OWN health. The additional stress of worrying about a loved one can take a physical and emotional toll on your own health. Plus it is not fun to have to repeat constantly or listen to the TV blaring.
Make an appointment to have your own hearing tested. This might be an easy way to encourage your loved one to start the journey to better hearing. The hearing evaluation process is so simple and easy they might just agree to having their own test.
Discuss the broader impact of hearing loss. They may not be aware of all the ways that their hearing loss is lowering their quality of life and the long term impact it can have on their health. It can also lead to fatigue and feeling frustrated a lot. And everyone just wants a happy and healthy loved one.