Difficulties with Communication Could Signal a Hearing Loss

Difficulties with Communication Could Signal a Hearing Loss


Have you been avoiding social situations? Withdrawing from conversations because you find them exhausting? Do you often need to ask people to repeat themselves? or have difficulty understanding people especially in public or among background noise? 

You may be one of the almost-50 million Americans that suffer from some degree of hearing loss. Studies show that almost 14% of the adult population has some measurable degree of hearing loss and despite all the dangerous consequences hearing loss may spiral into, more than 2/3 of these people do so without seeking proper treatment. 

We can assume that a lot of these people are in denial about just how serious hearing loss is. They downplay its effects and think that they can just learn to adapt and live with it. Some of these people are likely in denial that they are suffering from a condition at all. It is, after all, hard to admit to ourselves that our bodies decay and health wanes with age. And it is safe to assume that some proportion of these people do not even understand that they are suffering from hearing loss. The possibility has never even occurred to them, so they would be shocked to learn that. But difficulties communicating, such as exemplified above, are a dead giveaway that you may be suffering from hearing loss. 


Hearing loss most frequently comes on slowly. Less than three out of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S. are born with some detectable level of congenital hearing disability. But this percentage increases steadily as the demographic ages. It affects about 6% of people aged 18-44, 13% of people 45-64, 26% of people 65 and older and over 50% of everyone aged 75 and above. Common as it may be, it can be very difficult to recognize precisely because it comes on so gradually. Who is possibly so attuned to such minute changes in their perception that they could recognize such subtle differences? This is why it is so important to know the relevant evidence to recognize.   


Other people may recognize that they are experiencing the symptoms listed above, but refuse to believe it. After all, admitting changes in our bodies can be difficult to do. It forces us to face our own mortality. They may stubbornly try to persevere through the condition, as if will power enough could be enough to counter its effects. But consider how much unnecessary trouble this would create for you.  


When people’s speech comes across as muffled or when you have difficulty making out exactly what people are saying, that instantaneously harms your relationship with that person. Obviously it does not need to be permanently damaging, and with patience and understanding it can be easily overcome. But it cannot be overcome if you refuse to admit that it is real. 

When you ask people to repeat themselves over and over, the common patterns of conversation are thrown off. This stilted timing throws off the ease of connection and poses a risk to the relationship. You have to admit that it is a problem so that others in your life know to address you directly, slowly, clearly, and loudly. Otherwise conversation gets exhausting for all the parties involved. And it is a quick descent into psychological and emotional damage that can be tough to turn around. Socially withdrawn and avoiding others leads to loneliness and feelings of isolation. This is a common cause of depression and of course depression creates a spiraling feedback loop of negative consequences, including disorientation and cognitive decline. 

All of this can easily be averted by simply having the humility and self-awareness to admit that you may be one of the tens of millions of Americans to have a hearing disability. There is certainly no stigma to wearing eyeglasses, so why should seeking treatment for your hearing be any different? Facing this reality is a win-win situation: it improves your relationships in the immediate, deepening your quality of life in the immediate, and avoids the potential consequences of refusing treatment. Make an appointment with one of our specialists today to immediately feel your experience of the world simplify, expand, and deepen.