An individual with a hearing loss often finds group settings a frustrating experience. One study concluded that people who feel as if they are alone in the world risk mortality to a greater degree than those who are not alone. Hearing loss can escalate simple communication misunderstandings to full social withdrawal. If left untreated, a hearing impairment can lead to numerous relationship problems.
The impact of hearing loss upon social interaction often begins with a loss of confidence. If you struggle to understand what others are saying in public, work, or even at home, your self-esteem takes a blow. It is hard to respond for fear of embarrassment of looking foolish. Good communication is essential for a healthy relationship.
Communication is the bond that holds relationships together. It follows that hearing and understanding what others are saying is critical to maintaining relationships with family, friends, and business associates. The breakdown of communication causes frustration in relationships which frequently leads to a sense of resentment. Ultimately, loneliness and isolation are the results.
When you find yourself in a crowded room with multiple conversations and excessive background noise, you quickly understand what a difficult situation in which you have found yourself. You may ask if it is worth the effort because you feel worn down and exhausted from the excess work required to hear a conversation. The result of this scenario is often a withdrawal from social gatherings.
Measures You Can Take
The key is to address the issue head-on. If a hearing problem is causing a social withdrawal for you or a loved one, here is some practical advice for you:
- Hearing aids– Modern hearing aids deliver high-quality amplification that will allow you to distinguish speech. If you are not already using hearing aids for your hearing problem, today is a perfect time to start.
- Speak up– It is prudent to talk to a group in advance regarding your hearing loss. Addressing the group allows you to educate others before socialization begins. The result is understanding from the members of the group.
- Less stress– What if your loved one or friend has a hearing problem? Make it a point to choose quiet and peaceful settings to hold conversations. Make communication less stressful by speaking directly to your friend while minimizing background noise.
Reclaim Your Social Life
The psychological effects of a hearing loss frequently take a back seat to the physical aspects of a hearing loss although they are equally as frustrating. Acknowledge your discomfort with social situations and the feelings of exhaustion that often accompanies the ill feelings. Consider a hearing aid if you are not already using one, and take steps to ease the stress level of crowded environments both for yourself and your loved ones who may have a hearing impairment. The Hearing Loss Association of America can provide you with a wealth of useful links to help you recover your social life. A healthy social life is possible for you so do not let a hearing loss keep you from enjoying every moment.