How Treating Hearing Loss Improves Your Relationships

How Treating Hearing Loss Improves Your Relationships

The modern world we live in today is a world of constant communication. Now more than ever it is so easy to contact most of your friends, family and coworkers at the touch of a button. The presence of smartphones and Internet virtually everywhere is rapidly changing how we communicate through text, memes, group chats and more. Information is everywhere and a simple search can give us the answers to almost anything we can even think to ask. Even with this constant buzz of information, communication is still the foundation of a healthy relationship, out and about, at work or at home. When there is a breakdown of communication relationships become strained and this is certainly the case for those of us who are living with hearing loss and have not treated it.

Struggling with Speech Recognition

As hearing loss progresses the ability to hear and comprehend speech will begin to suffer. It is common to misconstrue what is being communicated in conversations that include many speakers but this can become even more exaggerated when living with hearing loss. Understanding what is being said becomes frustrating as hearing loss weakens our ability to interpret between multiple voices speaking simultaneously. This comes into play at parties, gatherings, busy restaurants and sporting events. It is common for people struggling with hearing loss to ask others to repeat themselves, but often after this becomes normalized in a person’s life, they grow tired or embarrassed and refrain from asking people to repeat themselves at all. This can lead to a person isolating and socially withdrawing. Because speech and communication are key to our relationships work and fun, it is imperative to restore your understanding of speech in cases of people living with untreated hearing loss.

The Benefits of Improved Communication

Any relationship will suffer when you cannot clearly communicate whether you are at work or at home with the closest people in your life.  Fortunately, treatment with hearing aids can improve relationships in so many ways after an extended to living with strained communication due to hearing loss.

  • Improved Intimacy – Hearing loss can create a divide when people cannot understand each other.
  • Improved Independence –Hearing aids can give you the independence to go out on your own again with out having to rely on others to interpret what is being said.
  • Reduced Arguments – When miscommunication becomes a regular staple of the day conflict is not far off.

Not only is do hearing aids help your relationships but untreated hearing loss also greatly affects a person’s social life, with increased stress, anxiety, and depression. Untreated hearing loss has also been linked to risk of dementia, falls, and hospitalizations. By treating hearing loss with hearing aids, people are able to re- engage socially as they once did before hearing loss was present.

What to Do if You Are Living with Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can develop slowly over time, making it not so easy to identify right away. It can creep up on you and before you know it you are having trouble hearing even in the best of listening situations. However, if you know the common signs of hearing loss then you have the tools necessary to admit you have a problem and get your hearing tested.

Hearing Aids and Your Relationships

Once you start using hearing aids the way you interact with the world often changes drastically. You can be more connected to the people you love, feel more engaged in social situations, navigate a crowded room of conversation and even stay more connected at work. Sadly, people living with hearing loss often wait an average of seven years before they decide to take the leap and take a hearing exam. Don’t be part of this statistic. If you are noticing that you are asking people to repeat themselves more than before if is most likely not that people are not speaking clearly but an issue with your hearing. Fortunately hearing tests are quick and painless and once you know the out come, you can have the information to seek the help you need to keep your self involved with the relationships in your life that make life worth living.

New Year’s Resolution: Get Your Hearing Tested

New Year's Resolution: Get Your Hearing Tested

The new year is already here, and for many of us, that means a new list of lofty new years resolutions. Whether you want to work out more, follow a healthier diet, or start planning for that holiday, unfortunately the numbers say you’re not going to succeed in all of your year goals.

But you might want to keep this one. When thinking of your health this year, scheduling a hearing test should rank at the top as one of the most important things you can do this year for your hearing and general health. Good hearing enhances your ability to remain socially connected and is linked to a number of health, social, and even financial benefits.

Your hearing may not be too bad yet, but changes in hearing happen gradually, and you may not have realized how bad it actually is. Perhaps it’s a little harder to understand conversation on the phone than it used to be, or you’re struggling to follow conversations, especially in groups like during that Thanksgiving dinner you hosted last year.

Trying to live your life with an untreated loss of hearing can have a greater impact than you would think. The body is remarkably good at adapting (but not healing) to maintain communication with others. You may, for example, compensate by instinctively looking to the lips of your speaker in noisy environments to help you understand better. But make no mistake, sound processing parts of your brain are being unused as a result of compromised hearing. This will mean they eventually atrophy as a result of underuse.

How common is hearing loss?

You may be surprised by the predominance of hearing loss – 360 million people develop hearing loss worldwide, including about 20 percent of Americans. This number rises to one in three from the age of 65!

With that said, less than one in three of those people aged 70 and over who would gain from hearing aids are actually using them. And what’s worse is that people wait, on average, 10 years to get their hearing treated. In that time, irreversible hearing loss will take root.

There are many reasons to get your hearing tested this year. Here are some of the most common.

1. Improve your social relationships this year

Hearing aids can help improve your relationships greatly. Using hearing aids can lead to better interaction with loved ones, on the job or in social situations. This doesn’t just mean better connections with loved ones–even the simple pleasure of regular small talk with the store clerk can add so much to your day.

2. Increase your earning potential this year

Were you aware that scheduling a hearing examination could be the first step in helping you earn more money at work? As strange as it appears, untreated hearing loss has a detrimental effect on potential earnings.

The Better Hearing Institute published a study in 2011 which found untreated hearing loss meant that people lost average of about $30,000 per year in potential income. This income shortfall was minimized by a whopping 90-100 percent when hearing aids were used. Why is this the case? Untreated hearing loss makes it harder to communicate with your co-workers on the job, leading to mistakes, miscommunications and a general reduction in your effectiveness t work.

But hearing treatment makes a big different. Approximately 91 percent of hearing aid users in a recent European study across 5 countries revealed that hearing aids were seen as “useful” or “extremely useful” in the workplace.

3. Maintain your brain health this year

Early treatment of hearing loss also has significant benefits for your brain function. A Johns Hopkins University study recently found that untreated hearing loss is associated with an increased dementia risk. Your cognitive capacities are spread more thinly when your brain is grappling to make sense of unclear sound signals. As a consequence, the brain may be exhausted by the increased cognitive load which results. This cognitive load is strongly correlated with an increased risk of dementia later on in life.

With hearing treatment however, sound signals become clearer, which means less work for your brain in noisy conditions.

Evergreen Audiology Clinic

It’s time to add a yearly hearing test to your list of annual health check ups. Even if you don’t suffer hearing loss, tracking the results will help you if your hearing declines in the future.

A hearing test is straightforward, pain free, and non-invasive–and it will not take much of your time at all. If you’ve undergone shifts in your hearing capabilities, we’ll help you determine the next steps to improving your hearing health. Contact us today at Evergreen Audiology Clinic for a hearing test!

Encouraging a Loved One to Take a Hearing Test

Hearing loss doesn’t just affect the individual who has it. Partners, family members and friends also feel the consequences. These groups might find themselves having to repeat things over and over, and it can be heart-breaking to see a somebody shut themselves away from the people and activities they enjoy.

There are many signs of hearing loss and your loved one may not have them all. However, exhibiting even a few of these signs could indicate that they need to get their hearing checked. Here are some of the most common indications they may need help:

  • they turn up the TV louder than others need it to be
  • they claim others mumble all the time
  • they find it tough to hear when on the phone
  • they don’t like going to restaurants because they can’t follow conversations
  • they become socially-isolated because it too much effort to go out
  • they find it hard to deal with loud noises and sometimes complains that they understand you, but other times they say that you’re shouting
  • their hearing loss leads them to be feel more frustrated than usual.

It’s understandable to want to help a loved one who is experiencing these symptoms. However, for many different reasons, the topic of hearing loss can be a sensitive one to raise. Some people think that treating hearing loss with hearing aids makes them look old, while others simply do not even notice the changes in their hearing. You will likely encounter resistance from your loved one about their hearing loss, so you’ll need to approach the conversation gently and tactfully. We offer some advice on how to best broach the topic with your loved one.

Starting the conversation

Talk to your loved one about the problems they have with hearing. Be patient, as it is normal for someone to deny they even have hearing loss at all. Hearing loss often comes on gradually and so the signs can sometimes be difficult to recognize. You can gently remind them that it isn’t normal to have to “translate” or repeat things for them so often.

You might even ask them about whether they can hear the everyday sounds around you. It is usually the higher pitched sounds that are lost first and so they may not hear the bird song around you in a wooded area, the telephone or doorbell ring for example. Making them aware of all the sounds they are missing may help them to realize that their hearing abilities have changed.

You could also talk about any safety concerns you may have. Everyday situations such as crossing the road may be more difficult or even dangerous if you are not able to hear well. This issue is amplified if your loved one routinely looks after young family members.

Talk about the long-term value of treating hearing loss. Some people become socially isolated and may stop going out due to the effort required to understand others in challenging listening environments. This could lead to problems such as depression and dementia. Hearing aids help keep the brain active. It is important to keep these parts of the ear and brain working to reduce the risks of cognitive and mental conditions down the line.

When they admit they might have a problem

If your loved one is receptive to the idea they might have hearing loss, it doesn’t mean they are ready for treatment. They may express concerns about the look and performance of hearing aids. In this situation, it’s helpful to talk about how developments in technology have drastically improved the way hearing aids look and perform.

As they might have more questions you can’t answer, encourage them to do more research themselves to get their questions answered. Following this, a good first step could be taking an online hearing check which will identify any general issues and can be used a bridge to seeing a specialist. Once they are ready, offer to schedule and attend a hearing consultation with them. Let them know they have little to lose, and that you are with them every step of the way.

Helping your loved one begin their journey towards healthy hearing can help set them up for a better quality of life. If you have helped them on the right path, well done to you. Why not help them schedule a hearing consultation with Evergreen Audiology today?