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Hearing loss: why is it so misunderstood?

Posted on November 20, 2017

Why Hearing Loss is so Misunderstood?

Your 40’s – hearing loss happens gradually

The reason hearing loss is misunderstood is because it happens so gradually in our lives. The aging process begins to change our hearing in and around our forties. It is so subtle that day after day we do not notice the difference. We wake up every morning, and we hear the same as we did yesterday. We do not believe that anything has changed.

Your 50’s – hearing becomes more difficult

By the time we are 55, we start to notice that it becomes a little more difficult when there are three or four people speaking around us, but we figure it is only the circumstances. In actuality it is a little bit of background noise that is causing the problem. Perhaps, the music is playing a bit too loud even though it did not affect us in our twenties or thirties. Now in our fifties it is, and we point to the circumstances that we are in, not that we have a hearing loss.

Your 60’s – high frequencies are starting to be missed

By the time we are 65, we are beginning to miss parts of speech. High frequencies, where the consonant sounds are, are starting to be missed. People begin to sound like they mumble because we only hear the vowels or they become dominant in the conversation. Over time, background noise, which are low frequencies, begin to dominate our listening environment.

Again, we believe it is only the circumstance. We believe that people do not speak clearly or there is too much noise going on in the background. This is what makes it difficult for us to understand the conversation, or so we believe. We think that we hear just the same today as yesterday, because we have noticed no real change in the last twenty years. Because hearing loss is so gradual, few notice the changes taking place each and every day.

In our twenties, thirties, and forties, long and full conversations were an everyday thing. We could have a conversation while actually doing things. We could move around the kitchen and get things done and still have a deep and meaningful conversation because it was easy to hear and understand all the speech.

What tends to happen when our hearing begins to fail is we begin to misunderstand the subtleties in speech. As we age those subtleties really become a problem as we are now missing certain consonants in the words which make people sound like they mumble. We go from having deep and meaningful conversations to having shorter and less meaningful conversations; and it puts a strain on our relationships. We start to wonder if there is something wrong with the relationship. When it is really that we are losing the ability to have long conversations.

In relationships, with a hearing loss that is not understood, over time those easy, fluid, and wonderful conversations we used to have start to become shortened. Often, someone will start to wonder what happened to their relationship. We used to talk so much and have great communication. It feels like we are falling out of love. It feels like our connection is not there anymore. What is not being recognized is that it is not the relationship. It is the hearing loss that is impacting the relationship.

My message to you is…. get your hearing checked on a regular basis. Your relationships with your spouse, mate grandchildren, children, and friends are worth it! You are worth it! Get your hearing checked.

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