How Untreated Hearing Loss Interferes with Your Relationships

Relationships are based on communication, but this common adage shouldn’t be taken at face value. If you find that a relationship is suffering, it isn’t enough to simply increase the quantity of communication. Indeed, the quality of communication matters, as well. Though you might be able to find ways to get across crucial information to others, the ability to disclose your personal thoughts and feelings is one way to build strong relationships. Of course, speech is only one-half of the communication process. 

To build strong relationships, you will need to become an active and attuned listener. Let’s take a moment to consider how hearing loss can interfere with your relationships. In the first place, your lack of hearing ability might be leaving out key pieces of information. However, in a larger sense, hearing loss can be a barrier between you and the people you love when it comes to disclosure and active listening. 

Information Exchange

When hearing loss gets in the way of your communication, you might be missing out on important pieces of information. This information can cause practical problems that lead to frustration and even anger. Many people form the bad habit of pretending to hear, particularly when they are avoiding getting treatment for hearing loss. Although this action might seem harmless, you might be causing serious problems and challenges for others. When they assume that you are receiving information, they might be expecting you to be able to act on it. Missing information is a problem for more than just practical concerns, however. Pretending to understand what someone else is saying can lead to a lack of trust when they realize you had been tuned out during conversation. 

Disclosure in Conversation

When others want to express trust in you, they might disclose important things about their inner lives. Whether that disclosure is as simple as an opinion about a movie or a deeper memory or experience, your ability to hear and understand is part of the bond between you. Vulnerability in relationships is the act of trust that when you expose something potentially painful to another, they will not let that disclosure drop. They will care about what you have to say, remember it going forward, and do what they can to help you. In a very practical sense, hearing loss can get in the way of any of these moments in a relationship. Without being able to hear and understand a disclosure by another person, you might be letting your half of the relationship fall unintentionally. 

Active Listening

One of the ways that we know people care about us is the awareness that they are acutely interested in what we have to say. If you have ever been on a date with a new romantic interest, you are likely very interested in everything that person has to say, thinking through all the implications and what you can glean from that information. Similarly, in all of our relationships, active listening is a sign of care. When a person uses face and body language to convey interest and follows up with pertinent responses and questions, you know that the person is interested in you, your life, and your thoughts. On the contrary, a lack of active listening can make a person feel unloved. By neglecting to pay attention to what another person has to say, you can make them feel unvalued and even unloved. Unfortunately, untreated hearing loss can cause these assumptions in relationships, even when they are far from the truth. Without the ability to understand and respond to others, we can unintentionally allow hearing loss to get between us and the people we love most. 

If you are concerned about any of these effects of untreated hearing loss on your relationships, the good news is that treatment can restore your communication and strengthen your relationships. With the newfound ability to converse with ease, you might even find that that ease is extended to your relationships with loved ones and others in your community. Why not take a step toward healthy relationships and better communication skills by getting a diagnostic exam for your hearing today?