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.
Could your exercise program be causing hearing loss?
Contributed by Lisa Packer, staff writer, Healthy Hearing | Monday, January 25th,
With the New Year upon us, it is likely that many of you have resolved to finally start exercising, and to make this the year to get fit. Perhaps spring break is looming, and you have visions of finally getting that buff beach body you always wanted. Or maybe you just want to start exercising more for your overall health. There is no denying that exercise is beneficial to the body and mind. But be careful, because that new fitness routing might come with an unpleasant side effect: hearing loss.
Straining or holding your breath
during exercise can cause pressure
to build up in the inner ear.
One fitness program in particular, which is rapidly gaining a cult following across the nation, can also have negative consequences for your hearing if you are not careful. CrossFit, which is a training program first used by the police and military special forces, is a high intensity workout that combines weightlifting, cardio, core training and more. Designed to push the body to its limits, CrossFit can deliver results in the form of peak physical fitness. But some participants are paying a high price for getting in shape.
Two common practices to avoid
You may be asking, “What does exercise have to do with my ears?” To illustrate, let’s look at two common practices that can occur during the weightlifting portion of CrossFit. The first of these is straining. Straining causes intracranial pressure (pressure within the brain) which in turn leads to pressure within the ears. The next is breath holding, which some swear gives them an extra boost in weight lifting by solidifying the core and supporting the spine. However what happens when you hold your breath? More pressure in the inner ear.
The pressure in the inner ear can lead to changes in the hearing during or after intense exercise as a result of a perilymphatic fistula, or PLF, which occurs unexpectedly and which most people aren’t aware of right away. Simply put, a PLF is a small tear or defect in the thin membrane between the inner ear and the middle ear. The tear itself can be caused by the pressure in the inner ear due to straining; hearing changes occur when the strain of subsequent workouts causes fluid from the inner ear to leak through the tear and into the middle ear.
It’s not just CrossFit
CrossFit isn’t the only culprit, certainly. Though devotees of CrossFit in particular, due to the culture in which participants are encouraged to strain themselves to the absolute limits, need to be mindful of the risks to their hearing, other forms of exercise can cause strain as well. Even running or intense yoga poses can cause changes in hearing. And any exercise in a gym setting can bring the risk of hearing loss. The crashing weights and loud music which have become the norm in gyms everywhere can lead to irreversible noise-induced hearing loss or tinnitus.
“I never actually took a sound level meter to the smashing of weights in a weight room, but it is likely that even short durations of loud intense weights dropping, can have the same potential damage to hearing as a shotgun blast or an air bag deploying,” said Rachel Raphael, M.A., CCC-A, an audiologist with Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore and a certified group fitness instructor. “If in fact, the smashing weights are in this range for volume, it wouldn’t take much for the person at close range to suffer permanent damage, in the way of high frequency sensorineural hearing loss and/or tinnitus as a symptom secondary to the damage in the cochlea.”
Dos and don’ts for healthy hearing during exercise
No matter what form of exercise you choose, here are some dos and don’ts to ensure you are taking care of your hearing while working out.
·Do: Get a hearing check immediately if you experience any change in hearing during or after exercise.
·Do: Drop your weight down to reduce strain. Reducing the strain will reduce the intracranial pressure, and possibly prevent a PLF from occurring.
·Do: If you are noticing hearing problems during or after exercise, experiment to find the level of exercise at which you are no longer experiencing changes to your hearing.
·Do: Protect your hearing in the gym. Wear earplugs to safeguard against loud music, or keep headphones at a reasonable volume to avoid long term damage in the form of noise-induced hearing loss.
·Do: As you age, do less straining during exercise, especially in the form of heavy lifting.
·Don’t: Hold your breath to get that extra boost of strength, as holding your breath increases the pressure within the ears.
·Don’t: Strain during weight lifting.
·Don’t: Participate in sports which can result in blows to the head, such as boxing or wrestling, if you are experiencing changes in your hearing.
·Don’t: Bang the weights when weight lifting. That sudden noise can reach a level as high as 140 decibels, which is like being exposed to a gunshot or explosion.
·Don’t: Ignore symptoms, thinking they will just go away.
When to seek help
What should you look for? Symptoms such as fullness in the ears, muffled hearing or dizziness after intense exercise are definitely not normal, and should be checked out by a medical professional. So go ahead and make 2016 the year for a healthy body; just make sure to keep your hearing healthy at the same time.
Tips for Christmas day – when you have a hearing loss
Hearing well at the family Christmas dinner
Christmas is a social time, a family time. It’s nice to sit back, relax and catch up with family and friends who we haven’t seen in a while. Sometimes it’s noisy, sometimes it’s hard to hear over the kids playing, or other conversations.
Is hearing loss getting in the way of your relaxing family time?
7 tips for managing Christmas Day
1. Sit in a good spot
Often it is helpful to sit with a wall behind you and in the middle of the table. This gives a better chance of hearing more of the conversation and not being distracted by sounds from behind. Try not to be be shy about talking to family and friends about which might be a better seat for you.
2. Keep the volume down during Christmas dinner
Turn down the music and turn off the TV during dinner. Added noise causes something called the Lombard effect – when it is noisy people talk louder. This can significantly increase the overall noise level making it quite difficult to follow conversations. Others may not even notice if you turn it down before the meal. Hearing in noise is very challenging even for people with minimal hearing losses.
3. Talk to those sitting next to you
Try and avoid conversations across large distances. If you need to talk, move closer, or ask that you continue later, when you can sit closer together.
4. Wear your hearing aids – all day every day
Wearing your hearing aids keeps your brain and hearing system active. People who only wear their hearing aids “when they need them” tend to be the same people who are unsuccessful with hearing aids. This is because their brain never has time to adjust to hearing sound. If you only wear your hearing aids in noisy group situations your brain will probably find the sound over whelming – a bit like running a marathon without doing any training.
Wearing hearing aids all the time, creates a new normal – normal to hear sounds (rather than normal to miss sounds). Your brain works out which sounds are important and which sounds are not important.
When you first get hearing aids you become very aware of all the sounds around you. The more you wear the aids the more your brain adapts, it will decide “that” sound is not important and it will no longer jump into your attention and you will no longer notice it. This process happens very quickly with the current hearing aids as they work so well.
So if your hearing aids are “in the draw” start wearing them in the few weeks coming up to Christmas. If you are not happy with your current aids – go and see your Audiologist and get them set up correctly, so you can wear them.
5. Try other technologies
There are many technologies available now that connect up with your hearing aids. They connect to your phone (land line or mobile), TV, computer, MP3 player and stereo. You can also get remote microphone technology, where you can give the speaker a microphone or place it on the other end of the table, then hear the conversation directly into your hearing aids.
6. Have reasonable expectations
You may not hear everything that everyone says – and that’s ok. Enjoy talking to the people near you and seek out the others and talk to them later. Could you suggest you all rotate seats for desert?
7. Bring your sense of Humour
It can be hard to keep it all in perspective during Christmas festivities, especially if you feel like you are missing out on the fun. Try to laugh a little and be grateful for the wonderful friends and family around you. You may not hear every word they say but you can partake in all of the good feeling around the table. Enjoy the moment.
WISHING YOU ALL A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY AND SAFE NEW YEAR!
We are close for the Holidays – Reopening Monday 4th January 2016.
For hearing aid emergencies call M: 0473 482 868
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.’