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The Interpersonal Toll of Hearing Loss

by April Maguire

If you're under the age of 60, you might not worry too much about hearing loss, but you should. Studies in recent years have shown that hearing difficulty is affecting more and more young people, including an ever-rising number of Millennials due to an increased risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

If current projections hold, then a full 44 million Americans over the age of 20 will suffer from noticeable hearing loss by the year 2020. By 2060, that number will jump to more than 74 million, encompassing nearly a quarter of the adult population. Given these numbers, hearing loss is about to become a greater concern for everyone.

When it comes to losing your hearing, there are some expected obstacles. For example, you may have to turn the television up louder or concentrate harder on conversations, especially in crowded or noisy environments. But there are some unexpected challenges as well, as interpersonal relationships tend to suffer significantly as a result of hearing loss.

Broken-Down Communication

Ask any psychologist, and they'll tell you that the key to a solid relationship is communication. Unfortunately, people suffering from hearing loss often find that their ability to communicate with their significant others, loved ones, and their friends is severely compromised. Conversations quickly become strained, leading to frustration on both sides. Subsequently, future conversations may be avoided entirely, ultimately causing hearing loss sufferers to live relatively isolated lives.

It should come as no surprise then that a number of divorces have been blamed on hearing loss as well. In fact, a recent poll from HearingDirect.com found that marriages where one partner suffered from significant hearing loss were four times more likely to end in divorce, compared to marriages where neither partner's hearing was significantly compromised. Moreover, the poll found that more than 30% of respondents said that hearing loss either directly or indirectly lead to serious marital arguments.

Preserve Your Hearing Loss Now

Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to preserve your hearing. For starters, you should avoid exposing your ears to loud noises. These can include noisy work environments, loud concert venues and even music blaring through the headphones of your phone, tablet or MP3 player. This type of noise pollution can take a brutal toll on your auditory system and permanently damage your hearing. Additionally, you should avoid damaging your ears with Q-Tips, and steer clear of any prescription medications that can cause damage to your inner ear.

In general though, it's a good idea to just be aware of your hearing. If you feel that you're having to strain to hear conversations or electronic media, then it's probably a good idea to schedule a hearing exam with an audiologist. Remember, when it comes to hearing loss, early intervention is the most important step you can take.

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!

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