Relationships being harmed: Hearing loss taking a toll

Naa Armah with a client at Specsavers Auidiology Centre in Parramatta.

HEARING loss is taking a toll on relationships in the community according to a leading Parramatta audiology specialist.

Naa Armah is the Audiology Professional at Specsavers in Parramatta and she said hearing problems took a toll on couples and families. “particularly if left untreated”.

Her concern follows new research released ahead of Hearing Awareness Week  in March which highlights the effect hearing loss has on locals.

The research found that one in three Parramatta locals over 18 thought their partner already had or might be showing signs of hearing loss, and 63% of them confirmed they have experienced communication issues in their relationship because of it.

Unsurprisingly, 92% of those who said their partner may be or was living with hearing loss also said they’d had communication issues, compared to the 50% of those who didn’t think their partner was showing signs of hearing loss.

The leading causes of miscommunication was either they felt like they weren’t being listened to at 36%, or they were misheard also 36%, followed by feeling ignored when speaking to them at 31% and being asked to repeat themselves multiple times 25%.

Ms Armah said  six million Australians were living with hearing loss.

“Hearing loss can take a toll in a relationship, especially if left untreated so it’s important to get it regularly checked so you’re not missing out on conversations with your loved ones,” she said.

“We see that on average it takes people seven to 10 years to take action after they notice the signs of hearing loss, so we hope that conversations with loved ones will lessen that gap and ensure Australians get help for their hearing loss sooner.”

The research also found that nine in 10 locals were willing to have the conversation with their partner if they have a concern about their hearing, highlighting their encouragement to do something about it.

Out of these, 70% of them would have a negative reaction like feeling frustrated, annoyed, angry or upset if their partner did nothing about their hearing after the concern was raised with them.

Additionally, 57% confirmed that if their partner did nothing about their hearing loss, there would be a resulting negative effect on their relationship, showing the emotional toll hearing loss could have..

“When you’re discussing your concerns with your partner about their hearing, try to understand why this might be a sensitive topic for them and encourage them to seek help so they can better their own quality of life,” Ms Armah said.

“If you have concerns about the hearing of your partner but you’re not sure what the signs of hearing loss are, look out for asking for the TV or music volume to be turned up, asking for people to repeat themselves, lip reading, leaning over the table to hear someone and refraining from engaging in conversations, especially in a busy environment because they know they can’t hear.”

Key statistics

  • 31% of locals in Parramatta over 18 think their partner already has or might be showing signs of hearing loss, with 64% of them confirming they have experienced communications issues in their relationship because of it
  • 92% of those who said their partner may be or is living with hearing loss said they’ve had communications issues, compared to the 50% than the rest
  • Parramatta locals confirmed the reasons for miscommunication was they felt like they weren’t being listened to (36%) or they were misheard (36%) followed by feeling ignored when speaking to them at 31% and being asked to repeat themselves multiple times at 25%.

If you know someone who you think may be hard of hearing or are worried about your own hearing, book a 15-minute hearing check with a local audiology professional at Specsavers by visiting www.specsavers.com.au/hearing.

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