How Untreated Hearing Loss Interferes with Your Relationships

Hearing is a critical sense we use to navigate everyday life and relationships. So when it is impaired, the effects can be profound. Nearly 1 in 6 people already live with some degree of hearing loss, and this is expected to increase. Hearing loss reduces the ability to hear and process sound, which strains both hearing and communication – integral to relationships. This untreated hearing loss interferes with relationships in significant ways, leading to relationship breakdowns. It is important to understand how hearing loss not only affects you but the people around you. Knowing this highlights the importance of treatment, which can transform hearing and relationships. 

Scope of Untreated Hearing Loss

Though hearing loss is pervasive, it is widely undertreated. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimates that nearly 25% of people ages 65 to 74 and 50% of people who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss. However, only one-third of people who could benefit from treatment actually receive it. 

One study that highlights how undertreated and deprioritized hearing health is was conducted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Researchers examined the scope of untreated hearing loss by polling a nationally representative sample of nearly 2,500 adults. Key findings include: 

  • 2 in 10 adults have had a hearing test in the past five years, compared to 6 in 10 adults who have had their vision tested. 
  • More than 51% of people reported hearing issues, but only 11% have sought treatment. 
  • 78% of those with hearing issues have been experiencing these challenges for one or more years, and over 35% have had trouble for five or more years. 

These findings show that symptoms can often go unaddressed for quite some time. A delay in treatment not only worsens hearing loss but the many effects it has on everyday life, including straining relationships. 

Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss on Relationships

Hearing loss that remains untreated can take a toll on relationships. People often report feeling unheard and ignored by their loved ones with hearing loss. This can produce tension, frustration, and distance in relationships. The following studies illuminate how untreated hearing loss interferes with relationships: 

  • 2020 Study Published on Clear Living. This healthcare and lifestyle platform conducted a study to examine the impact of hearing loss on social wellness which includes relationships. The study involved surveying 3,767 on how hearing loss impacted them. The majority of people listed social and interpersonal issues as the most significant effect of their hearing loss. This includes: 
  • 89% of participants cited social and personal problems as a key impact of hearing loss
  • 58% of participant’s statements say that their relationships had suffered
  • 39% of participants claimed that their conversations had declined or were harder to follow
  • 30% found watching TV difficult, while 35% struggled with being out with friends in public places.

These findings highlight that more than half of the people surveyed shared that their relationships suffered. This data also reveals that engaging in regular activities like watching TV and going out became difficult. 

These studies show that hearing loss makes communication challenging, which can lead to difficulty having conversations and arguments and take a toll on connection. 

Benefits of Treatment

Treating hearing loss can significantly improve relationships. There are effective treatment options that transform hearing health. The most common treatment is hearing aids, electronic devices that absorb and process sound. Hearing aids provide the ears and brain with ample support, making it easier to hear. This allows people to hear with greater ease and navigate conversations smoothly. Hearing aids support effective communication and enable wearers to fully participate in conversations. This makes it possible for people to spend quality time together and enjoy everyday activities. These benefits support connection, intimacy, and quality time which can profoundly improve relationships. 

Discover more about hearing loss treatment

Contact American Hearing + Audiology today to learn more about hearing loss treatment and to schedule an appointment for a hearing test. We look forward to helping you prioritize your hearing health and wellness.