The real reasons we ignore hearing loss

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ST. LOUIS — Hearing loss leads to divorce? Maybe not, but it really does negatively impact your relationships.

A recent survey, conducted by Energizer Battery, found nearly half of the respondents feel that their marriage has suffered because of their spouse’s hearing loss. The survey polled men and women 44 to 62.

Findings

Key survey findings include:

— Being hard of hearing can cause hard feelings. Nearly seven out of 10 respondents feel annoyed when their spouse cannot hear them. In addition, 16.4 percent feel ignored and 8.1 percent feel sad or hurt.

— Raised voices become more familiar. More than half find themselves in recent years talking louder daily so their spouse can hear them. And 83.4 percent feel that if they do talk loud enough, it helps their spouse better understand what they are saying.

— Is it hearing loss or selective hearing? While 45.3 percent of respondents believe their spouse doesn’t hear chore requests, 77.5 percent say their spouse can hear them fix a snack.

— Nearly half believe their spouse is in denial about their hearing loss. Of the boomers surveyed, 56.8 percent feel their spouse is reluctant to get his or her hearing checked.

Denial

Nearly half feel that denial is the No. 1 reason their significant other is hesitant to get his or her hearing checked.

— Hearing screenings are few and far between. More than a third know their spouse hasn’t had his or her hearing checked in more than three years.

Moreover, 23.4 percent revealed that their spouse has never had his or her hearing checked.

“This study illustrates that hearing loss affects more than the person experiencing it,” said Dr. Bary Williams, audiologist.

“Whether it is diagnosed hearing loss or a slight case of selective hearing, couples must work together and encourage healthy hearing habits.”

Independence

Williams also stressed the connection between hearing screenings and maintaining a high quality of life.

For example, untreated hearing loss could mean the difference between living independently and requiring assistance, said Williams.

“If you can’t hear the phone, doorbell, fire alarm, etc., it’s going to be extremely difficult to maintain your independence. If you have a hearing issue — and one-third of boomers think they do — get a hearing screening to determine if you need a hearing aid,” he advised.

“If not, you put yourself and others at risk.”

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