I’ve been thinking about the effect of hearing loss on relationships. I came upon a Harvard study that really piqued my interest, and I knew I needed to share it with you.
The study shows:
“Close relationships…are what keep people happy throughout their lives…Those ties protect people from life’s discontents [and] help to delay mental and physical decline…”
So why does this have me thinking about untreated hearing loss?
Because if our hearing suffers, our relationships suffer. And when our relationships suffer we’re less happy and more likely to decline more quickly – that’s one of my take-aways from that study.
Take one of our patients named John for instance. His family saw such a decline in his interest to socialize. He seemed withdrawn, almost aloof to the world around him. His wife and daughter shared with me that they started to feel socially uncomfortable with him because they did not understand his new “lack of communication”. I believe sometimes it becomes very heavy to carry the burden of hearing loss, as some individuals may choose to avoid dealing with it, hurting relationships with those they love in the process. I am really happy John did get the help he deserves and started to get back to his old self.
Another key point made in the study by Dr. George Vaillant:
“…the key to healthy aging is relationships, relationships, relationships.”
How can we have relationships with our loved ones when we can’t hear them?
Untreated or improperly treated hearing loss affects all of us in some way or another…more on this next week. The good news is, though, with the proper devices and care, we and our loved ones can avoid social isolation.
Dr. Sheryl Figliano