It may be obvious from our name: here at Family Hearing Aid Center of Hawaii, we care about families. In this month of May, we are celebrating Better Speech and Hearing Month, organized by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA). Better Speech and Hearing Month hopes to raise awareness about communication disorders and hearing loss and encourages people to seek treatment. This year, ASHA has chosen to focus on communication, with the theme “Communication: The Key to Connection.”
We understand that healthy hearing is fundamental to our most important relationships, from our spouses to our grandchildren.
Communication and Healthy Relationships
Healthy communication is the foundation of healthy relationships. We share ourselves with each other through conversation, jokes, and storytelling. We provide support and love through communication.
Maintaining a healthy relationship is an on-going process. We must check in and make sure that our lines of communication are always open. A breakdown in communication leads to unhealthy relationships, in which people become frustrated and isolated. In some instances, poor communication happens due to hearing loss.
Hearing loss makes speech recognition difficult. If you or your partner exhibit early signs of hearing loss, you may have experienced some of the challenges of communicating. Miscommunication often occurs because people with hearing loss explain that while they can hear, they find it difficult to understand. The consequences of untreated hearing loss extend beyond just simple miscommunication, however.
Consequences Untreated Hearing Loss
Untreated hearing loss brings a number of consequences: an increased risk of dementia, falls, and hospitalizations; lower earning power than colleagues with normal hearing; and a detrimental effect on one’s social life, with increased stress, anxiety, and depression. Eventually, hearing loss could lead to isolation and loneliness.
By getting a hearing test and treating hearing loss, people return to their normal lives, empowered with amplification and are able to engage socially, partake in activities they enjoy, and participate in social situations with confidence.
Signs that Your Family Member May Be Experiencing Hearing Loss
Your family member may be less interested in socializing with friends or family. They may be less inclined to accept invitations for parties and events, or they may avoid speaking on the phone.
Over time, your conversations and everyday banter have decreased in length and content. Conversations may prove particularly difficult in louder spaces, with a lot of background noise, such as a restaurant. At the same time, you may have noticed an increase in volume on the TV, radio, and phone.
If your family member asks you to repeat yourself often, or if you find that you are no longer able to talk from different rooms or floors of your home, it could be hearing loss. Your family member may complain often that other people are mumbling. They may also have difficulty hearing people with higher frequency voices, such as women and children.
If you identify any of these signs in your family member, take the time to discuss hearing loss with them.
How to Talk to Your Family Member about Hearing Loss
Discussing hearing loss is a sensitive topic. Before you talk to your loved one about hearing loss, research the signs of hearing loss, hearing exams, and the many options available to treat hearing loss.
Choose a calm time and a quiet place to have this conversation with your loved one. Chances are, your loved one is already aware and anxious about the changes in their hearing. Opening up channels of communication will allow you both to discuss your frustrations and fears, and also to set a course of action together.
Good communication is fundamental in any strong relationship, from friends to colleagues to family – and especially in marriages. When communication breaks down, fissures begin to form in the relationship. Restoring one’s hearing with hearing aids is the best way to ensure that communication is clear and relationships remain intact.
Family Hearing Aid Center of Hawaii
Family Hearing Aid Center of Hawaii is an independent, locally-and-family owned business, with seven offices on three islands: Oahu (Honolulu, Kahala, Pearl City, and Kaneohe); Maui (Kahului); Hawaii (Hilo and Kailua-Kona). We provide comprehensive hearing screenings and hearing aid fittings. There’s no reason to live with untreated hearing loss! Contact us at one of our locations today to schedule a hearing test, during Better Speech and Hearing Month.