Think back to the last time you felt very connected to a loved one. What made you feel such a close sense of security and trust? In almost every instance, you can point to a moment of rich conversation, the freely flowing back-and-forth of expression. Sometimes these conversations reach to the deepest parts of ourselves, sharing our true feelings, beliefs and memories. Yet, other times we are simply having fun banter, volleying jokes, anecdotes, and observations between two people who enjoy one another’s company. No matter what made you feel connected, conversation is almost undoubtedly a piece of the relational puzzle.
Now imagine how it would feel to struggle to understand your closest loved one without quite being able to put together the meaning of what they have to say. That experience will be familiar to the more than 48 million Americans who have hearing loss, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). Struggling to have a conversation is only one piece of the puzzle of relationship strain. In addition to those difficult conversations, those with untreated hearing loss also miss the casual speech that forms the bonds of a shared life with someone. Whether brief observations about the world, little jokes, or voicing life’s minor frustrations, these quick comments build a bond between people in a family or friend relationship. Furthermore, the ability to hear questions and answer in turn is essential to those who are forging an emotional bond. Yet, each of these fundamentals of a strong relationship can be lacking when one or both members have untreated hearing loss. Let’s consider some of the possible effects of hearing loss on relationships before turning to consider the relational benefits that await a person who gets treatment o assistance.
Hearing Loss and Relationships Strain
When we engage in a relationship, a contract is formed between two individuals that we are interested in their feelings and experience. We implicitly promise to care about their experience and response to the world. Yet, a person with hearing loss can sometimes struggle to understand what a loved one has to say. Without being able to make out these moments of thwarted communication, the process of expression and support is stymied. Some of the complications are simply the bread and butter of family life, such as asking questions and reported necessary information. However, the strain can extend much further when it comes to the inability to share our feelings. If we want to confide in a loved one about our joys and hardships, we expect them to understand and to respond with care. When that loved one has untreated hearing loss, those expressive moments can fall into the space between you.
Hearing Loss Treatment and Restored Connections
When a person with hearing loss receives treatment in the form of hearing aids or other assistive technology, all these strains can turn around. Where once a person might have become frustrated at missed details of a conversation or unanswered questions, those kinks in communication can be ironed out. Where expressive moments might have felt difficult or strained, that connection can be restored. With the free flow of thoughts and feelings back and forth, relationships can thrive once again. Not only are there good effects for the individual who experiences hearing loss, but the loved ones, family members, and romantic partners all feel a sigh of relief at the restored ability to communicate.
With so many benefits you stand to gain from restored relationships with treatment for hearing loss, why not take the step toward solutions today. By simply scheduling an appointment for a hearing test, you can get a diagnosis of your hearing limitations and needs. Once your hearing professional understands your needs, a range of assistive devices can be recommended, and you will be well on your way to hearing clearly once again. In addition to the many benefits of hearing loss treatment in terms of health, enjoyment, and emotional well-being, you can add to the list the restored freedom of emotional connections with your closest loved ones. Hearing treatment will benefit you indeed, but it will also bring a wealth of restored connections to your loved ones, as well.