Ask any happy couple what are the secrets to a successful marriage, and chances are that “communication” will be on the list.
That’s because communication allows both partners to convey their thoughts and emotions to each other – a very important aspect of a healthy marriage. Take away this ability to talk, hear, and respond and the relationship is bound to crumble.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t always. If one (or both) partners have difficulty hearing, the notion of communicating loud and clear bites the dust. And, this happens more often than you think.
Alarming statistics re: hearing loss and marriage
A recently released British study demonstrates that relationships are failing because of unmanaged hearing loss. The survey, of 1,500 hearing-impaired people over 55 revealed that:
- Almost one in two (44% of people) said that relationships with their partner, friends or family had suffered because they can’t hear properly.
- A third (34%) have lost touch with friends, and in some cases seen marriages fall apart, as a direct result of the breakdown in communication caused by hearing loss.
- Two thirds (69%) said their hearing loss seriously hinders their ability to take part in everyday conversations with friends and family, causing 52% of those surveyed to feel left out and ignored in social situations.
- Women (72%) were found to be more affected by social exclusion because of hearing loss than men
- Almost half (49%) said that losing their hearing is the worst thing about growing old.
Marriages in Peril
If you believe that statistics from across the pond don’t apply to Americans, think again.
A U.S. survey of baby boomers carried out in 2007 by Energizer Battery Inc., indicates that hearing loss harms relationships on this side of the Atlantic as well. In fact, nearly half (48 %) of those surveyed said their marriages have suffered because of their spouses’ hearing loss.
More than half (57%) feel their spouse is reluctant to get a hearing check, and 46% believe that denial is the main reason.
Even more respondents (65%) indicated they feel annoyed when their significant other cannot hear them.
Interestingly enough, although 45% indicated that their spouse doesn’t appear to hear chore requests, 78% are sure the hard-of-hearing partner can hear them fix a snack just fine!
Talk about selective hearing loss!
Seriously though, there is a fairly simple way to make sure your communication with the person closest and dearest to you doesn’t suffer.
Hear and be heard
If you have been noticing some difficulty with communicating with your spouse, start with a basic hearing test. If hearing loss is present, a comprehensive treatment plan designed specially for you can help. In some cases it may just be an assistive listening device for use with the television; still others may need hearing aids. With the wide availability of many technologically advanced digital hearing aids currently on the market – and new ones being developed all the time – there is no excuse not to get tested and fitted.
Concerns about how hearing aids look, how they make you feel, or how much they cost are alleviated when you see a professional who can educate you on all your options.
But a happy marriage is not the only reason why you should get tested and treated if needed (though it is certainly a very important one.) Numerous studies have demonstrated that hearing aids improve the overall quality of life by allowing the user to interact socially and emotionally with those around him.
So this Valentine’s Day, give your marriage and your life a treat by getting your hearing tested. It may be the best Valentines gift you ever got.