Family dynamics can be complicated. Relationships are built through connection, and much of that connection relies on communication and shared experiences.
But what happens when something prevents effective communication? Hearing loss can take away meaningful engagement and have a devastating effect on our quality of life.
How Does Hearing Loss Affect Us?
Hearing loss robs people of their relationships, and their enjoyment in life. It can cause people to withdraw from social outings, eventually causing isolation and even depression. When we struggle to hear, our brains are in overdrive most of the day, and our bodies get tired. It creates difficulty in even the simplest parts of our day.
Most families notice a change in behaviour first. We may sense fewer moments of connection and bonding, and frustrating conversations that go nowhere. Family members may start raising their voices out of habit, and meaningful exchanges simply disappear.
Hearing loss can affect anyone at any time, and as a society, we don’t pay close attention to it as part of our regular health care routine. Most of us get regular checkups at the doctor, book in to get our teeth cleaned and visit the eye doctor every couple of years. Yet many of us have never even had our hearing checked to establish a baseline, nor to monitor any changes over time. It can be easy to misunderstand what’s happening or miss it entirely.
What If A Family Member Does Have Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss can affect anyone in the family, and can actually be present long before anyone realizes it’s an issue. What does this mean for those of us living in homes with individuals with hearing loss? It means we may notice changes in their behaviour and communication long before we pinpoint that they are having trouble hearing.
This type of dysfunction can go on for years. On average, it can take people seven years to seek help with their hearing loss. Imagine what that many years of communication breakdown and frustration can do in your important relationships. It can be very frustrating in the months and years before someone seeks help, and many families suffer longer than they need to. Hearing loss can also make caregiving frustrating and rob both seniors and their adult children of the pleasure of each other’s company.
Whether a family member is suffering age-related hearing loss, an infection, a newly emerging health condition, or permanent hearing loss, a hearing health care provider can help pinpoint issues and possible solutions. The more we learn about hearing loss, the more we can make decisions that protect our relationships and our health.
How Can Family Members Help Someone With Hearing Loss?
The good news is that getting help can benefit everyone. If you notice someone in your family asks you to repeat yourself or struggles when there is background noise, pay attention. It could be a sign that they are having trouble hearing. A hearing test could be a valuable first step in finding a path forward.
A trusted hearing health care provider will work with you to find the right solution for you and help you through learning more about hearing loss. If hearing aids will help, they’ll ensure you have all the information you need and monitor your progress until you are comfortable.