Healthy communication is the bedrock of all healthy relationships. Through deep discussions, jokes, stories, and heated arguments, we share ourselves and learn about our loved ones. For many of us, our familial relationships are among the most important. As we approach Father’s Day, which gathers many generations under one roof, we would like to highlight how hearing loss interferes with communication and the importance of seeking treatment for hearing loss.
Understanding Hearing Loss
For people with untreated hearing loss, communication can be a big challenge. Hearing loss interferes with speech recognition, and over time, it could lead to social withdrawal and isolation. When people struggle through conversations and have to ask others to repeat themselves, this could lead to frustration. Communication breakdown could undermine even the strongest of relationships.
Hearing loss is the third most common medical condition in the United States, affecting 48 million Americans. Among older Americans, age 65 and older, one in three experience some degree of hearing loss. Approximately 50% of people over 75 and 80% of people over 85 experience some degree of hearing loss. Though it is a common condition, hearing loss is often undertreated and un-diagnosed.
If you have a family member with hearing loss, or if you experience hearing loss and are concerned about how it is affecting your relationships, it is important to face the condition head-on and seek treatment.
If You Experience a Hearing Loss
If you believe you have a hearing loss, take the first step and schedule a hearing test with us at HearCare. We provide comprehensive hearing tests, and if a hearing loss is detected, our team will work with you to determine the best solution to meet your needs.
Hearing loss is an invisible condition, which means it is often ignored. People will find many different ways to accommodate their hearing loss, by turning up the volume or asking people to repeat themselves. Unfortunately, hearing loss does not progressively get better – which is why making sense of speech sounds and environmental sounds becomes more and more challenging if hearing loss is left untreated.
This Father’s Day, take the first step to improving communication with your loved ones by scheduling a hearing test.
Communication Tips for People with Hearing Loss
Get Your Loved One’s Attention
It’s not uncommon for people to call out to each other from the other side of the house. If your family member experiences a hearing loss, this method of communication may not be very useful. Instead, get your loved one’s attention by gently tapping them on the shoulder or arm. To ensure you have their attention, make eye contact or say their name before you start speaking. When talking to a loved one with hearing loss, make sure you are facing them, as visual cues of facial expressions can help.
Don’t Take it Personally
It is important for everyone to feel heard while they are talking and engaging in conversation. So, it’s not a surprise if you become frustrated if your family member doesn’t seem to follow your story or get your joke. Depending on the configuration of hearing loss, they may mix up similar speech sounds or mishear words completely. Keep in mind that hearing loss interferes with speech recognition and try not to take it personally!
Louder Isn’t Better
It may seem like a good idea to speak more loudly and slowly when communicating with a loved one with hearing loss. However, this is not always the case. Again, it depends on the configuration of hearing loss. As a general rule, try to speak clearly, and check in to make sure your loved one is following you before you continue.
Visit Us at HearCare in Rhode Island
Helen Keller once said, “Blindness separates people from things; deafness separates people from people.” The same can be said of hearing loss: it can be an isolating and divisive condition if left untreated. Hearing loss has been linked to an increased risk for anxiety, stress, depression, and isolation, as well as dementia. Treating hearing loss helps to mitigate these risks significantly.
There are many options available for treating hearing loss. Today, there are many advanced, sophisticated technologies that reconnect people to their loved ones. Contact our team at HearCare today to schedule a consultation.