Hearing & Balance Doctors

Can Hearing Loss Affect Relationships?

Can Hearing Loss Affect Relationships?

February is traditionally the month of love.

With Valentine’s Day comes boxes of chocolates, romantic dinners, and bouquets of flowers. One of the most important components of any relationship is good communication.

Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, frustration, resentment, and more. Our sense of hearing is critical to our ability to communicate with others. When that sense is impaired, our ability to communicate with others – and to connect with them on a personal level – is also impaired.

The negative impact of hearing loss on relationships is something that has been studied quite extensively. An oft-quoted British survey, titled “Till Deaf Do Us Part,” surveyed 1500 people over the age of 55 with a hearing loss.

  • In that group, 44% felt that their relationships with loved ones had suffered because of their hearing loss.
  • Over 52% reported that they felt forgotten or ignored by friends and family.
  • 49% reported that losing their hearing was the worst part about aging.
  • And over 1/3 (34%) reported that they had either lost a friendship or had a marriage fail directly because of hearing loss.

These statistics can be startling. To those with normal hearing, our ears can be something we take for granted. Losing hearing often happens gradually and is unexpected.

What are the symptoms of hearing loss?

The first warning signs can be:

  • Struggling to hear in background noise
  • Turning the television up a little louder
  • Frequently asking people to repeat themselves

Warning signs can progress to social withdrawal, depression, and a subsequent struggle to connect with loved ones.

A survey published in 2007 by the American Speech and Hearing Association reported that many relationships suffered, but the relationship with a spouse typically suffered the most.

If these frustrations seem familiar to you, don’t lose hope! There is good help available.

Some hearing losses can be medically cured. For example, a wax plug in the ear canal or fluid behind the eardrum can be easily identified and corrected.

What treatment is there for hearing loss?

The majority of hearing losses are a little more complex, and although they may not be able to be cured, they can be significantly helped with hearing aids.

Hearing aids have improved greatly over the years.  Satisfaction rates with properly fitted hearing aids have steadily climbed over the past few decades.

MarketTrak research released in 2010 showed well over 80% of hearing aid users, when properly fitted with appropriate hearing aids, were greatly satisfied.

More recent research shows satisfaction rates up over 90%. Hearing aids are more discreet, easier to use, more natural sounding, and more automatically adaptive than ever before.

Experience That Counts

Our clinic, Hearing & Balance Doctors, is the only clinic in the region staffed entirely by doctors of audiology.

Our doctors specialize in evaluating and treating hearing loss. We counsel with each patient to create a customized hearing treatment plan that’s tailored to meet the unique listening needs of each individual.

Our doctors, and our entire staff, are also dedicated to helping our patients succeed long term. We believe in unlimited lifetime service for all of our hearing aid patients.

That means our patients can see us as often as they need without worrying about copays or expensive office visits. We find it very rewarding to help restore hearing, to improve communication, and to help maintain or elevate relationships.

Learn more about our doctors and our clinics by visiting us on the internet at hearingdoctors.net or by calling us at (435) 688-8991.

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Dr. Ryan Whitaker

Dr. Whitaker joined Hearing & Balance Doctors of Utah in 2009. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Brigham Young University in 2005 with his Bachelors of Science in Audiology and Speech Pathology. He then received his Doctor of Audiology from the University of Arizona where he minored in Cognitive Neuroscience (the study of how people perceive sound). While at the University of Arizona, he specialized in evoked potentials, specifically researching Cortical Auditory Evoked Potentials and the Acoustic Change Complex. He gained clinical experience at Tucson Ear, Nose, and Throat; St. Joseph’s Hospital Balance Center; Arizona Hearing Specialists; and the Center for Hearing Impaired Children. Dr. Whitaker was raised in Orem, Utah with three older sisters and a younger brother (who is also an audiologist). His grandfather was a cartoonist for the Walt Disney Studios where he drew Donald Duck and many characters in Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland before starting the BYU Motion Picture Studio. Dr. Whitaker is married and has three sons. He is passionate about college football and also enjoys hiking in Southern Utah, reading, and traveling. He has traveled extensively through South Asia including Thailand, India, Nepal, and a church mission to the Philippines.

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