This post is part of our “Hearing Loss is Not Harmless” series. This series of posts will walk through several common physical, mental and emotional health conditions that have been found to cause—or be caused by—hearing loss
Hearing Loss and Relationships
Hearing loss is an extremely isolating condition. Straining to hear conversations is stressful and frustrating, which causes people with hearing loss to begin avoiding social situations.
Social isolation is not harmless, either. It causes the speech processing part of the brain to go unused, which leads to brain shrinkage and cognitive decline. In fact, people with hearing loss have up to a 500% greater probability of developing Alzheimer’s or other dementia1 (learn more about hearing loss & dementia here).
Connecting with others is a basic human need, but the ability to connect is hampered when hearing loss gets in the way. Hearing loss doesn’t just heart the person who has it; relationships between spouses, friends and family all suffer when loving words and everyday conversations are no longer effortless.
Frustration and isolation create a wedge in your relationships that drives itself deeper and deeper if hearing loss remains untreated, and it can lead to loneliness and depression.
Think you’re safe just because you’re younger?
Think again—hearing loss doesn’t discriminate based on age: 65% of people with hearing loss are under age 65. In fact, more than 6,000,000 Americans aged 18-44 have hearing loss and over 1,400,000 youth suffer from hearing loss.2
If hearing loss is hurting you or someone you know, it’s time to do something about it. Help save your relationships from being torn apart. Stop the hurt and start the conversation.
Be sure to ask your primary care physician to perform a hearing test if you’ve been experiencing signs of hearing loss. Hearing loss is not harmless.
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1. Johns Hopkins Medicine. <http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_and_dementia_linked_in_study> last accessed 1/7/16.
2. Better Hearing Institute. <http://www.betterhearing.org/hearingpedia/prevalence-hearing-loss> last accessed 1/7/15.