Untreated hearing loss takes a toll on relationships
Untreated hearing loss does not only affect an individual’s quality of life – it also has an impact on his or her relationships, especially the most important ones. This is because hearing loss affects one’s ability to communicate, and by definition, communication involves a least one other person. While managing hearing loss can be challenging, there are many ways to do it, and harnessing the various hearing loss solutions available to you can improve relationships and, ultimately, your level of happiness and satisfaction with life.
But first, it’s important to understand how untreated hearing loss can impact your relationships:
Untreated hearing loss can impact the whole family
Untreated hearing loss can also affect relationships with children. When kids are small, it could potentially be a dangerous situation if you can’t hear their cries. As children are older and begin talking, it can be difficult to engage and understand them, and young kids might think you don’t care or aren’t interested in what they have to say. Needless to say, this can be emotionally difficult for the entire family. Even with hearing loss solutions, it can still be challenging. For example, as Shanna Groves says in her blog – Lipreading Mom – even with hearing aids, she still must often ask her children to repeat what they said.
Untreated hearing loss can also emotionally impact adult children, especially those who have encouraged their parents to get help.
Romantic relationships are dependent upon emotional, verbal and physical connections. For people who are hard of hearing and their significant others, hearing loss can be a barrier to all of these things. In a 2007 article from The ASHA Leader, audiologist and Professor Patricia Chute talked about some of the confusion involved in romantic relationships with hearing loss:
“All too often spouses blame each other’s ability to listen when in fact it is truly a hearing problem that is chipping away at their ability to communicate,” Chute said.
And a survey by Cochlear Americas that same year revealed that the relationship people with hearing loss cited as most likely to suffer was that with their romantic partner – a whopping 35 percent said romantic relationships trumped others in communication difficulties. When asked about their feelings when conversing with someone who appeared not to be listening because of hearing loss, 54 percent of people said they felt frustrated, 32 percent felt annoyed, 23 percent were sad and 18 percent felt ignored.
It’s not hard to imagine that relationships with significant others suffer the most; after all, in today’s busy world of work, volunteer activities and raising children or grandchildren, romantic relationships often thrive on finding brief, spontaneous and meaningful moments to connect emotionally. But these opportunities for connection are often unscripted. However, with untreated hearing loss, romance and spontaneity often have to be removed from the factor as cues are missed and communication must be planned.
Social relationships also suffer with untreated hearing loss. For example, if friends don’t realize you have hearing loss, they may think you are a poor listener or don’t really care about them. For example, if you have a phone call with your best friend and she tells you when everyone is getting together for her birthday celebration, but your hearing loss causes you to hear the wrong time or date, she may think you just didn’t care to show up. She might not call you again, and your feelings may be hurt. This communication mix-up could cause you to withdraw from others in the future, leading to isolation and potentially depression.
Untreated hearing loss can put a strain on work relations, much for the same reasons outlined above: Communication is at the heart of working with colleagues. Even in a work environment where your role is not collaborative, your hearing loss might cause you to miss something important. Luckily, many things are done via email, but work meetings may be especially tough when several people are talking at once. For example, you may miss your boss’s cue to give your input, or you may not be able to participate fully in a meeting when more than one person is talking at a time. Thus, colleagues may think you are ignoring them or are not willing to work hard and contribute.
HOT weather is coming. HOT weather also brings heat, humidity and air conditioning all of which can wreak havoc on hearing aids. Moisture collects in tubing, corrosion forms on contact points, and ears may produce more wax.
Water is a serious enemy of hearing aids. Moisture can destroy the microphone and the receiver of hearing aids, clog the sound opening or ear mold tubing, and cause corrosion in the hearing aids. Moisture in the hearing aids can cause a static sound or can cause the hearing aids to operate intermittently or not at all. Moisture comes from a variety of sources including perspiration, high humidity, and direct submersion in water. To avoid the damaging effects of moisture, follow these tips:
Be particularly careful when wearing hearing aids outdoors in wet and rainy weather. Use an umbrella or hat when it is raining.
Ensure that your hair and ears are dry before you put on your hearing aids.
If perspiration is excessive, avoid wearing hearing aids during strenuous activity particularly in hot, humid weather.
If the hearing aids get wet, it is important to remove the battery promptly and let the hearing aids dry out for several hours. If you have a Dri-Aid kit, use it to facilitate drying of the hearing aids.
Do not use a hot air dryer, oven, clothes dryer, microwave, or other source of heat to dry hearing aids.
Excessive heat can damage your hearing aids. Avoid storing your hearing aids near summertime sources of heat such as a sunny window in your home or your car, or outdoors on a glass topped patio table.
Hearing aids tend to gather bacteria and other microbes more readily during the summer months. An anti-microbial product that can be applied to the hearing aids every few days helps kill off infection causing microbes.
IMPORTANT: Hearing aid batteries are toxic. Keep them away from children and pets, as they are harmful if swallowed. Here are some helpful tips for the care and use of your hearing aid batteries:
Always carry extra batteries for your hearing aids as batteries tend to die quickly, sometimes unexpectedly
Do not keep extra batteries loose in your pocket or purse with other coins or metal objects
Store batteries in a drawer, not in the refrigerator
For longer battery life especially during the hot and humid months of summer, open the battery compartment or remove the battery from your hearing aids every night
Do not remove the tab on the hearing aid battery until you plan to use the battery
Watch for corrosion on the battery. If you notice a white powdery substance on the battery, replace it immediately. Also, check the battery contacts within the hearing aid to assure they are free of corrosion
Battery contacts may be dried with a dry cotton swab in cases of humid weather or heavy perspiration
We hope these tips about caring for your hearing aids during HOT weather will help you to keep them clean and in proper working order this summer.
Humor can sometimes make lite of a serious situation – but it’s a great way to break the ice and start a conversation.
Hearing and quality of life are closely linked. Poor hearing affects both the person with the loss and those with whom they communicate. A comprehensive study on the effects of untreated hearing loss on adults as well as their families found that hearing loss impacts on our social, emotional, psychological and physical well-being.
An elderly gentleman…
Had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100% .
The elderly gentleman went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, ‘Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.’
The gentleman replied, ‘Oh, I haven’t told my family yet.
I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I’ve changed my will three times!’
Three old guys are out walking.
First one says, ‘Windy, isn’t it?’
Second one says, ‘No, it’s Thursday!’
Third one says, ‘So am I. Let’s go get a beer.’
A man was telling his neighbor, ‘I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it’s state of the art. It’s perfect.’
‘Really,’ answered the neighbor ‘What kind is it?’
‘ Twelve thirty.’
And one more…
Morris, an 82 year-old man, went to the doctor to get a physical.
A few days later, the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.
A couple of days later, the doctor spoke to Morris and said, ‘You’re really doing great, aren’t you?’
Morris replied, ‘Just doing what you said, Doc: ‘Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.”
The doctor said, ‘I didn’t say that. I said, ‘You’ve got a heart murmur; be careful.’
Tinnitus — that ringing and buzzing in your ears that won’t stop — is a common condition among millions of Americans. Its impact on your life can be serious. Anxiety, depression and loss of sleep are common side effects. This may be especially true if tinnitus is accompanied by unknown hearing loss, as is the case in 90% of tinnitus sufferers.
Tinnitus has a variety of causes. Experts suspect that the ringing sound is the brain trying to adapt to a loss of hair cells, the nerve cells inside your ear that translate sound into electrical signals for the brain to interpret. This nerve loss can be caused by long noise exposure, aging, inner ear infection, or a condition called Meniere’s disease.
Every case is unique. But you can take charge.
There are, however, professionally monitored treatment plans and technologies for managing tinnitus and relieving the stress and anxiety it causes in your life. Oticon hearing devices with Tinnitus Sound Support™ can help because they provide amplification and a special sounds program for tinnitus relief. Tinnitus Sound Support™ is a feature that works with BrainHearing™ technology to address your unique condition, your likely hearing challenges, and your personal sound preferences. This individualized, flexible approach gives tinnitus sufferers an option for relief.
Get relief today.
The first step in getting effective relief from tinnitus is to have your hearing evaluated byHearing & Audiology. There is hope — with an understanding of your tinnitus and any related hearing challenges, you can discuss your goals with your hearing care professional and plan a course of treatment.
It’s important to know that you don’t have to live with untreated tinnitus. Learning to manage your tinnitus is the first step to regaining hope and maintaining your health.