So, you shout your question, but they don’t answer. You ask again, louder this time, and they still don’t reply. Then you really raise your voice, and their response isn’t exactly what you expected. “Why are you yelling at me?! What’s your problem?”
Does this sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone.
How many people suffer from hearing loss?
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, more than 48 million Americans suffer from some form of hearing loss. But here’s the good news: About 29 million U.S. adults could probably use hearing aids to improve their hearing.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, only 1 in 4 people who need hearing aids actually bother to wear them.
These are just broad strokes that paint the overall picture of hearing loss in America — the details are even more surprising:
— 50% of people older than 75 have some degree of hearing loss.
— 25% of people between 65 and 75 have some degree of hearing loss.
— 1 in 5 American teenagers suffer from a hearing issue.
What can we tell from those numbers? Hearing loss isn’t a problem only for the elderly. It can be an issue for any couple, no matter their age.
How does hearing loss affect relationships?
Hearing loss has been called the silent killer of relationships, and rightfully so. No one likes to be shouted at, and no one wants to ask someone to repeat themselves over and over again.
As a result, people suffering from hearing loss often begin to isolate themselves from their friends and family without even realizing it. They may think they’re doing everyone else a favor. This can have a huge impact on most people’s marriages.
In fact, according to a study conducted by The ASHA Leader, 35% of participants reported that hearing loss had negatively impacted their relationship with their significant other or partner more than any of their other relationships.
And according to a British study of 55-year-olds with hearing loss, out of 1,500 participants:
— 44% reported that their hearing loss had caused relationships with their partner, family or friends to suffer.
— 34% reported that their hearing loss had actually led to the end of a relationship, including marriages.
Clearly, hearing loss is no small issue when it comes to happy and healthy relationships. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the least suspected culprits of relationship problems. Maybe that’s why 53% of women with hearing loss and 37% of men with hearing loss have not sought treatment for their condition.
What common objections might I encounter?
If you think your spouse has hearing loss and it has affected your relationship with them, you may have to be the one to convince them to seek treatment. Common objections you might hear could include any of the following:
— “My family doctor would have told me.”
— “A hearing aid makes me look old.”
— “Hearing aids are uncomfortable.”
— “I can hear just fine.”
Hearing loss may be embarrassing for people who have it, and some might prefer to ignore it. The good news is that some of the most common reasons for hearing loss — such as earwax buildup — are easy to fix and don’t require invasive surgery or hearing aids.
But if your spouse’s hearing loss is deep-seated and requires hearing aids or treatment, you may have to first overcome their objections and protestations.
What should I do if my spouse has hearing loss?
The key is to be patient, understanding and supportive. When approaching your spouse or significant other about their hearing loss, make sure they understand that you are focused on improving the relationship, not on assigning any value judgment.
Discuss how you feel your partner’s hearing loss has impacted the relationship for you and why that bothers you. Then ask them whether they think their hearing loss has impacted the relationship for them as well. Empathy will go a long way when it comes to successfully facing hearing loss with your partner.
Ed. – If you’re in central Indiana, contact Manan Hearing Care for a complete audiogram, and recommendations for hearing aids. If you’re shopping for hearing aids online, check out HearSource.com, which is a fantastic source of low-price, high-quality hearing aids, and they can do remote fittings and adjustments through your home computer (and in some cases through your smart phone!)