When you think about your most important relationships, what comes to mind? You might think of the times you’ve spent in the past doing fun activities, such as going to a park, restaurant, or party. On the other hand, you might remember the times you had deep conversations, connecting over what is most important to you. Others might think about the time simply spent being together, doing your own activities at home while in the same place. These different aspects of relationships have one thing in common: communication. When you go out and do activities together, you communicate with one another about what you enjoy.
When you have a deep conversation, of course, this connection is built on communication. Yet, even your time spent quietly at home together likely has communication built into the process. For these reasons, it is a commonly held adage that strong relationships are built on communication. We communicate in many ways, including body language, facial expressions, and subtle gestures, but the prominent form of communication tends to be verbal.
When we speak, we call on the resources of language to get across our message clearly. Speech and hearing go hand-in-hand in this exchange, and it’s clear that our relationships are built on this steady flow back and forth. What happens when one of the people in this relationship has hearing loss? The result can be a strain on the relationship itself, having nothing to do with the connection between you. Let’s consider the process of communication that can be impeded by hearing loss, as well as what you can do to improve relationships.
Sharing What You Love
One of the foundations of a relationship is shared experience. When these are positive experiences, such as taking part in hobbies, entertainment, or social events, we build relationships with those who have the same positive experiences. Yet, sharing these events requires communication ability. Hearing loss can get in the way of sharing these moments together. When someone comments on their experience or something they enjoy in the event, they can feel alone if you don’t hear or respond. Perhaps you’ve fallen into the habit of pretending not to hear when something is unclear. That gap between you can put up a wall in your relationship, as well.
Sharing Your Feelings
Many of us feel most connected when we’re telling others how we feel. This disclosure of emotion is an important way to build trust, understanding that the other person will not judge us or refuse to hear what we have to say. This trust requires a steady back-and-forth of disclosure and receptivity. As you can guess, hearing loss can jumble the process of communication, inserting gaps in an otherwise steady flow of disclosure. When you aren’t able to fully understand what another person is saying, that can feel like a betrayal of the trust you have already established.
Sharing Your Life
Perhaps the fundamental aspect of a relationship is sharing a life with someone else. Whether that occurs for just a few hours as you sit and chat over a warm drink or whether you live with that person, the connection can be built by simply spending time together. That time spent is evidence of a connection that goes beyond words, and yet we often use casual communication in these settings as a way to connect. When you are at home with another person, you are likely inserting comments, opinions, or little jokes into the conversation. These become the foundation of a shared life, and they are crucial to our feelings of trust that the other person is there and that you are on the same page. Untreated hearing loss can make these casual comments particularly difficult.
If you have noticed that untreated hearing loss is straining your relationships in any of these ways, you don’t have to stay in a state of struggle. Treatment can repair not only your communication ability but also the relationships that have suffered as a result of hearing loss. Why not take the opportunity to schedule a hearing test today? With the results of the test, you might not only learn how to address hearing loss but also how to build stronger relationships as a result.