Hearing Loss Impacts Relationships

Hearing Loss Impacts Relationships

Hearing loss is a significant problem not only to the one undergoing it, but also to those who have a close relationship with the one suffering from it. Untreated hearing impairment can have a negative impact on relationships due to the lack of effectiveness in communication that results from hearing loss. Communication is a two-way street, and it requires both partners to be equal participants. Modern technology has given rise to several methods that are geared towards improving hearing capabilities that can ultimately help enhance your personal relationships and your overall quality of life.

It is important to explore the significant impact that hearing loss can have on family relationships. When it comes to hearing loss, parent-child relationships can deteriorate. Not being able to identify threats in the auditory world can place your child in danger. A parent of an infant who is unable to hear a smoke alarm or the sound of their child crying may place their child’s life in peril. As children grow up, parents with hearing loss can have a difficult time communicating and understanding their child’s needs, which may be misinterpreted by children as neglect or detachment from the parent’s side. Untreated hearing loss in a parent can also have a negative effect on adult children since they might miss out on having a meaningful relationship with their parent as a result of their parent’s hearing loss and inability or unwillingness to seek help, which may lead to conflict.

Untreated hearing loss can also hamper romantic relationships, which are significantly dependant on verbal communication. An article from The ASHA Leader (2007) helped outline how spouses tend to blame each other for not listening when in reality a genuine hearing impairment may be the reason behind the deterioration in communication, according to audiologist and professor Patricia Chute.

A survey conducted in 2007 by Cochlear Americas reported 35% of romantic relationships as the primary sufferers as a result of hearing loss. Exploring their emotional response towards communicating with a romantic partner with hearing loss, 54% of romantic partners of those with hearing loss reported feeling exasperated, 32% felt irritated, 23% felt a sense of sorrow, while 18% felt as though they were being ignored.

Relationships with friends also take a hit when it comes to untreated hearing loss. Friends that are unaware of your hearing loss, may mistakenly perceive you as being a poor listener or disinterested or apathetic towards them. Miscommunication resulting from hearing loss may also disrupt friendships and make your friends feel as though you are not paying attention to them or that they are unimportant to you. This can result in social withdrawal where friends avoid communicating with you, which may result in isolation which over time may even lead to clinical depression.

Hearing loss that goes untreated can also lead to complications and disruptions with colleagues at the workplace. Working within a structured setting requires teamwork and collaboration, which becomes difficult with untreated hearing loss. You may miss out on important communications that are shared in meetings or presentations, and may not be able to reach your full earning potential. Colleagues may also isolate you or even sabotage your chances for success if they think you are avoiding them or do not wish to work collaboratively with them.

Due to the severe negative impact of untreated hearing loss, it is important to get your hearing tested and rectified so that you can reach you maximum potential at work as well as enjoy meaningful relationships in your personal life.