January 27, 2021
Clinical Contributors to this Story
Virginia Gural-Toth, AuD, CCC contributes to topics such as Audiology.
By Virginia Gural-Toth, AuD, CCC-A
Ask any happy couple what makes their marriage a success, and chances are that “communication” will be on the list. That’s because communication allows both partners to convey their thoughts and emotions to each other – a very important aspect of a healthy marriage. Take away this ability to talk, hear and respond and the relationship is bound to crumble.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t always. If one (or both) partners have difficulty hearing, the notion of communicating loud and clear bites the dust. And, this happens more often than you think.
Data Shows Hearing Counts
A recently released British study demonstrates that relationships are failing because of unmanaged hearing loss. The survey of 1,500 hearing-impaired people over 55 revealed that:
- 44% of people said that relationships with their partner, friends or family had suffered because they can’t hear properly.
- 34% have lost touch with friends, and in some cases seen marriages fall apart, as a direct result of the breakdown in communication caused by hearing loss.
- 69% said their hearing loss seriously hinders their ability to take part in everyday conversations with friends and family, causing 52% of those surveyed to feel left out and ignored in social situations.
- Women (72%) were found to be more affected by social exclusion because of hearing loss than men.
- Almost half (49%) said that losing their hearing is the worst thing about growing old.
A U.S. survey of baby boomers carried out in 2007 by Energizer Battery Inc., indicates that hearing loss harms relationships in America as well. In fact, nearly half (48 %) of those surveyed said their marriages have suffered because of their spouses’ hearing loss and more than half (57%) feel their spouse is reluctant to get a hearing check. Even more respondents (65%) indicated they feel annoyed when their significant other cannot hear them.
How to Get Your Hearing Checked
If you have been noticing some difficulty with communicating with your spouse, start with a self-assessment, then consider a hearing evaluation that can be completed by experts who specialize in audiology.
If hearing loss is present, a personalized treatment plan can help.
In some cases, it may just be an assistive listening device for use with the television; still others may need hearing aids. With the wide availability of many technologically advanced digital hearing aids currently on the market – and new ones being developed all the time – there is no excuse not to get tested and fitted.
Concerns about how hearing aids look, how they make you feel, or how much they cost are alleviated when you see a professional who can educate you on all your options.
An Added Bonus
Maintaining a happy marriage is not the only reason why you should get tested and treated if you’re having trouble hearing (though it is certainly a very important one.) Numerous studies have demonstrated that hearing aids improve the overall quality of life by allowing the user to interact socially and emotionally with those around them.
This Valentine’s Day, give your marriage and your life a treat by getting your hearing tested. It may be the best Valentine’s gift you ever got.
Next Steps and Resources:
- Clinical Contributor: Virginia Gural-Toth, AuD, CCC-A
- To make an appointment at the Center for Audiology located at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute, call 732-321-7063 or visit JFKAudiology.org
- If you or someone you know has a hearing problem, take the necessary steps to schedule a comprehensive hearing evaluation from an audiologist
- Advice for Buying Hearing Aids
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.