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Better Hearing and Speech Month has arrived with the arrival of spring! The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and several other allied organizations will use the month of May to raise awareness about communication disorders, provide information, and lead efforts to improve hearing health. The theme for this year is “Building Connections.”
Building Connections in Communities
One key area for building connections is between parents and teachers, as demonstrated in a recent battle over accessibility in New Milford, CT.
Jennifer Hauschild, a New Milford resident, has had bilateral hearing loss since she was a child. As she is the mother of a school-aged daughter, she wants to be involved in her daughter’s education.
On the other hand, she struggled to remain involved. With her hearing loss, she had no way of participating in or understanding what was going on at the New Milford town and Board of Education zoom meetings.
Luckily, she was able to meet a community leader who highlighted the issue with council members. The town council eventually agreed to Hauschild’s proposal to make virtual meetings ADA-accessible to deaf or hard-of-hearing people.
Prevalence of Hearing Loss
Hauschild’s story is undoubtedly a victory for those with hearing loss. Still, the fact remains that more people have hearing loss than we think.
Hearing loss is a widespread problem that goes largely untreated. Since too many people who might benefit from hearing treatment don’t get it, one of Better Hearing and Speech Month’s main aims is to convince people to get their hearing tested. Obtaining a diagnosis of hearing loss is the first step toward life-improving hearing aid treatment. Over the years, this month dedicated to hearing health has inspired many people to take this crucial measure.
What effect does untreated hearing loss have on your relationships?
Hearing loss can affect a person’s physical and emotional well-being in several ways.
The most serious problem, though, is how it impacts relationships. Helen Keller once said that of all her sensory deprivations, she missed her hearing the most. She found that, although her blindness separated her from things, her deafness separated her from people. Our ability to communicate and connect with others is crucial to our happiness, if not survival.
In honor of Better Hearing and Speech Month, let’s take a look at some of the ways unresolved hearing loss can affect a person’s relationships with others.
- An inability to talk about everyday things easily. Day-to-day communication, especially between couples, often revolves around minor details of life. Work, something funny, a quiet word of encouragement or assistance. These seemingly insignificant moments are essential for maintaining intimacy and companionship. Even the most robust relationships may feel disconnected and lonely as hearing loss makes these tiny interactions difficult or impossible.
- An inability to take part in community activities. Whether it’s a friendship or a marriage, shared activities are essential aspects of any relationship. Hearing loss that isn’t handled may make social situations uncomfortable for both the person with the hearing loss and their partner. In noisy settings, it is difficult for the hard-of-hearing to hear and communicate. As a result, the individual with hearing loss could lose confidence and withdraw from activities and outings that they once enjoyed, increasing their isolation and, most likely, isolating their loved ones.
- A lack of independence. When one partner suffers from hearing loss, the other often acts as a “hearing helper,” interpreting and repeating what is being said. While it may seem to be a routine and innocuous practice, this communication arrangement may cause frustration and resentment in both parties. This job will become tedious for the hearing partner. The person with hearing loss can resent having to rely so heavily on their partner.
Treating Hearing Loss
The good news: according to multiple studies, hearing aids have been shown to improve a person’s quality of life, relationship satisfaction, communication, and enjoyment of social activities.
We provide a wide range of audiological services, including hearing tests, tinnitus management, hearing aid fittings, custom hearing protection, and more. If you suspect you might have a hearing problem, make an appointment for a hearing test right away!