Losing your ability to hear can wreak havoc on virtually every facet of your life. For years, researchers have been looking at the connection between hearing loss and a wide range of issues, including dementia, depression, memory problems, and social isolation. Now, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests hearing loss doesn't just take a toll on the affected individuals. Rather, it can take a toll on everyone around them, causing interpersonal relationships to become strained and ultimately unravel entirely.
So how do people with hearing loss keep it from destroying their relationships? The first step is to recognize the warning signs.
What to Look For
Numerous studies have shown that early intervention can help people retain their hearing. Sadly, however, hearing loss tends to occur gradually, making it hard to spot. As a result, the overwhelming majority of cases go untreated, negatively impacting millions of relationships around the globe. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be dealing with hearing loss, here are some early warning signs.
Most hearing loss sufferers report tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, during the early stages. Additionally, it's common for conversations to sound muffled or unclear, especially in noisy environments where there are other sounds competing for attention. Also, sufferers routinely ask people to repeat themselves or to talk more slowly during conversations. And not surprisingly, when people start to lose their hearing, they often start to turn up the volume on electronic devices.
How You Can Help
For hearing loss sufferers themselves, the best course of action is to invest in assistive technology, such as hearing aids, that can help compensate for the hearing loss. Additionally, experts say it's a good idea to try to keep up a normal routine. Living with hearing loss can be frustrating, especially in social situations, but self-isolation can lead to depression and cognitive issues, which are at the root of interpersonal turmoil.
If someone close to you is dealing with hearing loss, then there are steps you can take as well. First and foremost, you need to exercise patience. Don't get frustrated that you have to repeat yourself, talk louder, or have to endure the television being at a high volume. Also, it's a good idea to create a living environment that's conducive to better hearing by keeping distracting sounds to a minimum. Finally, you should face your loved one when having conversations. That way you allow him or her to read your lips or pick up on facial cues to help them understand words that may have been difficult to hear.
Don't let hearing loss be the reason your relationships dissolve. With a little extra time and effort, you can take a proactive approach to the problem and keep the impact of hearing loss to a minimum.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!