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With around 466 million people worldwide living with disabling hearing loss, it is important to raise awareness and create infrastructure to support people with this condition. This is exactly what the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association strives to do every May with Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM). BHSM raises awareness of struggles that people with hearing and speech issues experience, and highlights the importance of dealing with untreated hearing loss.
Communication At Work
Being able to hear is a key part of any conversation. When hearing loss starts to set in it becomes increasingly difficult to understand what people are saying and respond accordingly. This can make it especially daunting to participate in social activities, causing people to suffer from anxiety, depression and social isolation.
The theme for BHSM this year is “Communication at Work.” However, ASHA announced it would use this year’s Better Hearing & Speech Month to provide resources to aid people struggling with hearing and communication issues during this time of social distancing. ASHA states, “The 2020 awareness campaign will stress education ways in which to improve communication from home while socially distancing and dealing with hearing loss.”
Social Isolation and Hearing Loss
Humans are social creatures and most of us thrive when we interact. For people with hearing loss the effects of social distancing can become compounded, especially when living with untreated hearing loss. Many don’t even realize that their hearing loss has become so acute, as hearing loss develops slowly over time. While users of hearing aids are enabled to pursue interests and joys again as their hearing is amplified, social distancing is now limiting these interactions. The effects of social isolation are even more pronounced when not using hearing aids. Studies have shown a correlation between hearing loss, social isolation, and lower quality-of-life.
As we age, social isolation increases the risk of many mental and physical health challenges, including depression, heart disease, compromised immune systems, and even dementia. In fact the former Surgeon General of the United States said that social isolation is associated with a “reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” One of the major causes of social isolation is hearing loss as people struggle to hear and converse.
Hearing Loss and Relationships
While sheltering in place, your family will have a chance to become closer and spend more quality time together than ever before. However, if you are living with untreated hearing loss, then this could seriously throw a wrench in your plans to bond. Hearing loss puts a huge strain on your most precious relationships, whether it be your children, your friends or even your significant other. When you struggle to communicate on a daily basis the bond between you and the people you love becomes strained.
You may experience a decrease in quality communication, engage in more arguments or become lonely in your relationships. Hearing loss can also reduce a couple’s ability to enjoy their favorite hobbies or even engage in intimate conversation and a decrease of inside jokes. Whether you realize it or not, this is the glue which makes one feel close to another; when you can’t hear this bond becomes brittle. The good news is that hearing aids can amplify sound so you can hear the people you want to hear from the most and start to rebuild relationships that may have become stressed due to hearing loss.
How Hearing Aids Keep You Engaged
If you are already wearing hearing aids then you are already helping yourself to stay engaged and connected to the world even while socially distancing. The hearing aids of today are ready to keep you connected to the people you love, now equipped with features like Bluetooth technology which streams sound from your Smartphone directly to your hearing aids so you don’t miss a thing while talking to your loved ones on the phone or video chat.
Whether you are having trouble with your current hearing aids or you realize you are dealing with a brand new case of hearing loss please reach out to us for help. We can test your hearing and find the best hearing aids for your individual hearing loss and keep you feeling connected.