Hearing loss can be a tough situation to come to terms with, for both listeners and communicating partners in different relationships. The effects of hearing loss vary for each person, as everybody’s ears and hearing are uniquely individual. The cost of hearing loss doesn’t end with the person who has the hearing impairment, it impacts the many individuals in contact with the listener.
Who Does Hearing Loss Affect?
As briefly mentioned above, hearing loss affects both the person with the impairment and everybody they’re in contact with. Friends, family, and professional relationships all shift as both parties change their communication methods to handle the situation.
This means helping family members feel like they’re reaching out to those with hearing problems, as everyone becomes familiar with a change in hearing. Social gatherings with friends that used to be okay in terms of volume and noise may need to be rethought, as loud restaurants and noisy arenas are no longer great options. When everyone works together to address hearing loss, friends won’t think they’re being ignored and those with hearing loss will not feel isolated.
Everybody will need to adjust to the stress and changes in communication, accommodate the necessary hearing adjustments, and offer support in seeking treatment.
Feelings of Withdrawal and Frustration
The person with the hearing loss will have difficulty understanding and hearing everything said, resulting in many different reactions. They’re no longer able to catch the entire conversation, which could leave them feeling left out or like they’re missing out, and they may feel defensive coming to grips with their hearing impairment. It’s a frustrating experience for the person because they can no longer enjoy everything the same way they previously did.
Hearing loss can lead to withdrawal from social interactions when individuals find it too hard to communicate in big, loud groups. Even smaller occasions, such as watching television, become a challenge when one person’s hearing needs makes the other person’s hearing uncomfortable.
How to Deal with the Loss
Each person can help alleviate the effects of hearing loss: choose restaurants with lower noise levels; mute or turn down the television and radio volume while carrying on conversations; and find quiet corners in noisy areas. These tiny gestures help eliminate disruptive background noises and support the conversation both people are having. It’s best if both parties avoid getting angry or frustrated, as this only adds tension and increases difficulty in communicating.
Hearing aids are very helpful and recommended for those with hearing impairments, but it doesn’t end there. Aids don’t overcome poor communication tactics, and combined with background noises, only go so far. The listeners are suffering from decreased clarity, and the sounds they do hear may be distorted, making it more difficult to understand speech. Taking the time to learn about the hearing loss generates better understanding of what the person is struggling with, and it allows the opportunity to understand differences between the types of impairment.
Conversing with someone with hearing loss requires revised communication strategies, such as speaking clearly and face-to-face interaction. It’s important to get the person’s attention first to make sure they’re aware of the conversation. Consider rephrasing speech instead of repeating verbatim, and speaking at slower rates to give the brain time to process what’s been said and fill in information the ears missed.
Get answers and help with hearing loss when you schedule an appointment with the professionals at Associated Audiologists. They understand the effects of hearing loss in each individual patient to provide the best care for everybody.