Communication is especially important, as it is the way we listen to our partner’s concerns and frustrations, and allows us to have conversations about things both important and trivial. But if one of those in the relationship has hearing loss, frustrations can begin to mount. Just a simple conversation becomes difficult, and one of the most crucial elements of a good relationship can be lost. For the person on the other end of your hearing loss, it can be frustrating and exhausting just trying to get through the day.

A 2009 British study revealed just how damaging untreated hearing loss can be to relationships. Out of 1,500 people with hearing loss surveyed, 44 percent reported that their relationships with their partner, friends or family had suffered due to their hearing loss. And 34 percent reported that the breakdown in communication had actually brought about loss of friendships and ended marriages in some cases.

If you are the one with hearing loss, put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Think what it would be like to have to repeat yourself multiple times before being heard. Consider what it must be like to have to listen to the TV or radio at an uncomfortably high volume, to have to leave the room, or to be tasked with being a “living hearing aid” for someone else.

Everyone who has been on an airplane has heard the instructions, “In case of cabin depressurization, please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” The same concept applies in relationships. In order to be a good partner in any relationship, whether with a friend, relative or significant other, you must first take care of your emotional health. Research shows that untreated hearing loss has a profoundly negative effect on mental state, causing higher rates of depression and increased feelings of loneliness, isolation, frustration and anger. On the flip side, those who get hearing aids report an improvement in quality of life and a reduction in negative feelings and emotions.

Content Provided by Healthy Hearing