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Hearing loss and relationships

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and with it the flowers, candy, candlelight and all-around romance that keeps a relationship going strong… Just kidding. Maintaining happy and healthy relationships isn’t as easy as the Valentine’s Day marketers, books, movies, and fairy tales often make them seem. A strong relationship with a significant other (or anyone, really) takes understanding, commitment, open communication, and good, old-fashioned work. This is especially true when one or both people in the relationship have hearing loss.

How hearing loss can affect relationships

According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 15% of Americans report some difficulty with hearing. Countless more, live with undiagnosed hearing loss. In recent years, hearing loss has been linked to everything from cognitive decline to higher healthcare costs, but can also have an adverse effect on our relationships if we let it.

It can start with some frustration over not hearing your spouse clearly, or television turned up too loud. It can evolve into withdrawal from once-loved activities, friends, and even each other as those with hearing loss fall gradually into social isolation. It can become even more severe when social isolation sinks into depression. All of which can put a strain on even the strongest relationship.

Does that mean you should kiss your relationship and your honey goodbye if you have hearing loss? No! A little work can go a long way to making any relationship stronger.

Help your relationship thrive

This coming Valentine’s Day and throughout the year, you can foster your relationship with simple steps like these that help you better communicate and grow together despite hearing loss:

  • Schedule a hearing evaluation. You owe it to yourself and your significant other to take care of your health. That includes your hearing health. A hearing evaluation can help diagnose hearing loss and identify treatment options. According to one 2004 study, untreated hearing loss in one spouse can even have a negative effect on the health of the other spouse.
  • Use hearing aids. If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss and hearing aids have been recommended to treat it, use them. Work with your hearing healthcare provider to select the best hearing aids for your needs, and use them throughout the day to help you adjust to hearing with the devices and improve communication.
  • Rely on experts. A hearing healthcare professional is the first step, but consider working with a counselor who specializes in relationships and communication between couples. This can help keep a relationship strong even before there’s trouble.
  • Don’t give up the activities you love. Again and again, studies show that hearing loss, especially untreated hearing loss, can lead to social isolation, anxiety, and depression. It’s not unusual for people in a relationship to cite hearing loss as a factor that begins to limit people, places, and activities that once were so enjoyable to both people.
  • Focus on communication. If you’re in a relationship, you know just how important this is. With hearing loss, it may take a little extra help with hearing aids, hearing devices, and more effective communication skills.

The best relationships take commitment and work, but the payoff, with or without hearing loss, is immense.

If you’re ready to improve your relationship by diagnosing and treating your hearing loss, contact our office to schedule a hearing evaluation today.

If you have questions or would like to schedule a hearing evaluation, call our office today.

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