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How Does Hearing Loss Affect Communication

a family gathered for dinner

Hearing loss can, unfortunately, take its toll on communication. Not only does it make it difficult for the person with hearing loss to express themselves, but it can also discourage other people with normal hearing ability from communicating. Even simple conversations can be difficult when one person cannot hear what the other is saying. While the odd “pardon?” or “what did you say?” is tolerable, asking people to repeat themselves multiple times is a recipe for frustration. 

Hearing loss can make you feel tired

Hearing loss is tiring for all parties involved. It is tiring for the person who is hard of hearing because they have to strain to hear what is going on around them continually. And it is tiring for the other person who is trying to ensure that they are understood. 

As hearing loss progresses, people with the condition can find themselves missing out on entire words or sentences. They can often get the wrong end of the stick and reply to a question that they have not been asked. Furthermore, it can be difficult for the person asking the question to correct their understanding, especially if they cannot hear well. The result of all of this is that both parties wind up feeling exhausted, even when asking something as simple as “what would you like for dinner?”

Hearing loss can lead to isolation

For years, scientists have known that hearing loss leads to social isolation. Researchers at the American Academy of Audiology, for instance, found that adults with hearing loss who did not wear hearing aids were much more likely to experience anxiety and depression than those who did.

The reason for this, the investigators argued, is that untreated hearing loss makes social gatherings less enjoyable, which, in turn, increases the likelihood of mental illness. It is hard for people with hearing loss to home in on a single voice in a loud room, making communication almost impossible. When seeing friends and family becomes a struggle, it also becomes less appealing. 

Hearing loss can affect communication in children

While the social consequences of hearing loss can be severe among people who acquired the condition as adults, it can be even more profound among children. 

Children with hearing loss, for instance, can struggle to make speech sounds, put sentences together, use the correct grammar, and express themselves adequately. 

Many factors can cause child hearing loss. These include chromosomal errors, congenital syndromes, some medications, premature birth, and injuries. 

The severity of the effects of hearing loss on communication depends on the age at which the condition emerges. Some children, for instance, cannot hear from birth. At this stage, the developmental effects are the most profound. Other children experience hearing loss at a later age – a stage in their lives when they can vocalize their difficulty hearing.

Children with hearing loss struggle to learn spoken language. Because they cannot hear what people are saying, they cannot model the sounds with their own voice. They also can’t semantically reconstruct the language around them to express their thoughts, opinions, and preferences. 

The sooner that professionals diagnose hearing loss in children, the better. A full diagnosis identifies the cause of the hearing loss and then puts in place strategies to prevent it from having a detrimental effect on development. Some children, for instance, can benefit from hearing aids. Others with profound hearing loss may require other interventions, such as sign language, to enable them to communicate with others. 

Hearing loss can lead to problematic relationships

There are a lot of negative emotions associated with hearing loss. These include frustration, resentment, and loneliness. Other symptoms can consist of reduced social connections, a reduction in joking and banter in the family, and a reduction in shared activities, like watching TV together.

Hearing loss, therefore, can lead to a decrease in communication across a multitude of fronts. Not only does it reduce direct conversation, but it also cuts down on opportunities for social interaction, which can take its toll on relationships. Many people can feel a sense of a loss of companionship and belonging, all thanks to difficulties communicating with their significant others. 

Do you know somebody who is struggling to communicate because of hearing loss? Are you that person, and you need help? If so, get in touch with Advantage Hearing & Audiology. Call Greensboro at (336) 271-4944 or Eden at (336) 623-2422 to find out more about how we can help you hear and communicate better.