Hearing impairment is not as uncommon as you might believe. Once you start to notice the more blatant signs, it is best to get tested by an audiologist. An audiologist will help diagnose, manage and treat patients with audiology problems.
Hearing loss is not nearly as uncommon as you might believe, with as many as 360 million people living with the ailment. A buildup of earwax, ruptured ear drum, damage to the inner ear, and infections are common reasons you might experience auditory problems.
The workings of your ear are simple yet essential. Your ear consists of three defined sections: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. Sound waves pass through the outer ear, which causes the eardrum to vibrate.
The vibrations are amplified by traveling to the inner ear through the tympanum and three tiny bones in the middle ear. Vibrations are transmitted via a fluid in a snail-like structure in the inner ear (cochlea).
There are some common signs your partner might be experiencing hearing loss.
1. Your partner seems withdrawn.
Hearing loss often leads to instances of anxiety and depression, so it shouldn’t be a shock that your partner avoids social interactions; this might happen because they are embarrassed to ask people to repeat themselves.
Misunderstandings in conversations could cause humiliation, especially when words are missed or not heard. Your partner might be feeling angry, and this may make them try to avoid social functions.
Anger and denial are common emotions experienced when suffering from hearing loss. Remember to support your partner, the changes they are going through are complex, and they might have difficulty adjusting.
2. Your conversations suffer.
Because your partner is having difficulties hearing you and the changes in your voice, your communication might suffer.
When hearing loss is experienced, the tone and pitch of your voice might not be conveyed to your partner; this could lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings.
When speaking to your partner, try for face-to-face communication to avoid any misinterpretations that may arise. Avoid speaking from another room (your partner might not hear you!).
Make sure that you speak clearly and slowly while maintaining a natural tone.
3. They are excessively increasing volume levels.
You might notice your partner turning the TV volume up way too high or leaning in to hear better what is happening; this is a sign that your significant other is struggling to hear the TV.
Turning the volume up is counterproductive as it can accelerate hearing loss; this is something that can be avoided by removing yourself and your partner from loud noises.
The fine and delicate hair-like structures responsible for transporting frequencies can be damaged. While this is irreversible, hearing aids and cochlear implants can improve the situation.
If you do happen to notice this, it is best to book an appointment with an audiologist to stagnate and treat hearing loss. Your hearing specialist will be able to guide you in the right direction.
4. They seem distracted by background noise all the time.
If your significant other is struggling to hear or focus with mild background noises, they are possibly experiencing some form of hearing loss. Hearing studies are frequently done using chinchillas because they have a similar hearing range to humans.
According to research, hearing impairment causes the channels to become broader and more scattered. Still, in a typical system, they are sharp and focused. Background noise has a significant physiological effect on hearing loss, which leads to the auditory nerve fibers being distracted particularly easily.
This generally happens because the healthy cells are spread too thin. Hearing aids can sometimes filter out background noises (and can even be connected to smartphone apps). Once your better half has hearing aids, they should be able to filter out background noise using settings on their smartphone.
5. You need to repeat yourself.
You may notice your other half frequently asks you to repeat yourself. It is because there is a genuine misunderstanding between you.
When struggling with hearing loss, your partner may miss words or whole sentences. You can combat this by first gaining their attention before speaking to them.
Maintaining eye contact during the conversation increases your chances of getting your message across. Don’t cover your face with your hands, and try not to repeat yourself. Instead, rephrase what you were saying.
If your better half is experiencing any of these, they may be suffering from hearing loss. You will need to stand by them as they find their way on this journey, regardless of how difficult it might be.