17 April 2009

Hearing loss affecting relations with family and friends

In 2008, hear-it carried out a number of online surveys about daily life with hearing loss. The results are being published in a series of articles on www.hear-it.org. Here is the fourth article.

When your hearing declines your relationships with your relatives and friends are likely to be adversely affected, as well, according to a new study carried out by hear-it.

Six in 10 relatives or friends of hearing impaired individuals reported that hearing loss in relatives or friends somewhat or significantly affects their relationships. About three in four, 74 percent, stated that they change their behaviour when they are together with their hearing impaired friend or relative.

The findings of the online survey, conducted by the non-commercial hear-it organisation are in line with the findings of other studies. Couples are hardest hit, but relations with friends, family and co-workers suffer, as well.

The hear-it survey also indicated that hearing loss is a delicate subject among those affected. Almost half of those who had discussed the hearing loss of their friend or relative directly with the hearing impaired individual said that they found broaching the subject difficult.

Assistive devices helpful

Kim Ruberg, Secretary General of Hear-it, urges people with hearing loss to seek treatment.

- All studies show that treatment of hearing loss, typically with hearing aids, results in significant improvements in the quality of life of the treated individual, stated Ruberg.

- Improvements are found in close social relationships otherwise adversely affected by hearing loss. Hearing aids help the hearing impaired individual function better within the family, with his or her spouse or partner, on the job and in every other situation involving hearing.

In Europe, one in six suffers from some degree of hearing loss, as confirmed in an earlier hear-it survey. In the United States, hearing loss is the third most widespread chronic affliction, according to the Better Hearing Institute.

About the survey

129 hear-it users took part in the survey which was part of a series of surveys about living with hearing loss.

Other articles about the survey results:

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