Is hearing loss more than just awkward? Left undiagnosed, hearing loss has a major effect on wellness, careers and, yes, including your social life. Individuals tend to take their hearing for granted, that is until they start noticing little things like conversations that seem faint or chronically low sound on the television. It might take a minute to connect the dots between the things they no longer hear and their potentially failing ear health.
Of course, there are ways to circumvent hearing challenges in the beginning like asking people to repeat themselves all the time or turning up the volume but it does change things – beginning with your social life. Consider some ways that your social life might suffer if you don’t take the steps necessary to improve your hearing.
You’re Left Out of the Conversation
Communication is a large part of being social, but that becomes difficult with a gradual hearing loss. It will start small with certain sounds dropping out when you are listening to someone talk. For instances, people with mild hearing loss tend to complain about not hearing words with “S” or “F” clearly. Certain voices might sound faint or mumbled, as well – usually high or low pitches.
In time, background noise takes over your conversations. It’s impossible to hear anything but the fan blowing or the AC running as you try to listen. Something as simple as the wind blowing leads to frustration.
You may start to feel left out as the people around you talk but you struggle to hear and understand everything they say. That feeling of isolation in a room full of conversation has an impact.
You Experience Real Isolation
Not being able to hear a loved one, friend or family member says leads to mistakes and maybe even conflicts. The people in your life can start to treat you differently, trying to avoid conversations because you don’t understand them. They can’t talk to you, so it makes them uncomfortable to be around you. The phone stops ringing because you never answer anyway. When you do hear it ring, it’s a struggle to interpret what is being said.
The people in your life don’t ask you to hang out anymore, as much as they used to either. You don’t understand the movies or TV shows, anymore, so it just gets messy. When your hearing loss began, you felt a little isolated, but as it gets worse, you spend more time alone or on social media pages instead of seeing your friends in person.
They say good relationships require effective communication, but that suffers when you start to lose your hearing. What once was a partnership built around your ability to talk to one another is now a series of miscommunications. Maybe, you didn’t stop and pick up milk because you have no idea she asked you to do it or you miss a date because you got the time wrong.
That special person in your life may get frustrated because every conversation consists of you saying “What?”. As difficult as it is to experience hearing loss, it’s just as hard to see a change in someone you love without understanding why it’s happening. You lose that connection you once had with a close friend or partner because you refuse to accept that you need to see a hearing professional for help.
It’s depressing to think of how many ways losing your can hearing cost you, but for most people, there is hope. It’s estimated that 14 percent of people between the ages of 45 and 65 suffer mild to moderate hearing loss. For these individuals, getting a professional hearing test and investing in hearing aids is all it takes to return them to the social life they once enjoyed.