Hearing loss can affect our relationships with loved ones as communication becomes more challenging and strained. One solution to this is hearing aids, however, are they a worthy investment and do these devices really help to encourage better conversations?Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
To find the answers to these questions, we commissioned a survey with 150 respondents who are caregivers to those with hearing loss. Read on to learn about our key findings!
- Summary of Our Key Findings: Hearing Aids Encourage Meaningful Conversations
- How Hearing Aids Improve The Quality of Life
- How Hearing Aids Deepen Relationships
- How Hearing Aids Influence Emotions
- How Wearing A Mask Affects Those With Hearing Loss
- Are Hearing Aids A Worthy Investment?
- Tips for Talking to Your Loved Ones About Hearing Loss
- FAQs About Hearing Aids
Summary of Our Key Findings: Hearing Aids Encourage Meaningful Conversations
- Hearing aids improve the lives of those with hearing loss by helping them hear better, become more independent and feel more engaged in conversations.
- 54% of caregivers enjoy more meaningful conversations with their loved ones when they use a hearing aid.
- Caregivers of hearing aid users tend to experience less irritation and worry as compared to those of non-hearing aid users.
- During the pandemic, 82% of caregivers expressed that hearing aids are a worthy investment.
- Reading facial cues and communication has become more challenging for those with hearing loss due to the mask.
Overall, the majority of caregivers agree that hearing aids help them build better relationships with their loved ones and the cost of one is offset by its benefits. For example, they get to enjoy better conversations and experience fewer negative emotions associated with the effects of hearing loss.
How Hearing Aids Improve The Quality of Life
Untreated hearing loss is linked to a number of health issues such as an increased risk of dementia or depression. It also has an impact on one’s quality of life.
In our study, 82% of respondents found that hearing aids helped their loved ones hear better. This, in turn, allowed 75% of them to become more independent and 76% to participate more actively in conversations.
Summary: Hearing aids allow those with hearing loss to experience the world around them as per normal, improving their overall quality of life.
How Hearing Aids Deepen Relationships
When asked how hearing aids have impacted the quality of their conversations, 54% of respondents shared that they now enjoy more meaningful conversations related to personal and emotional topics with their loved ones.
A caregiver also shared that the device has made it easier for them to communicate during their daily meals, allowing for better bonding.
For caregivers of non-hearing aid users, we were interested in finding out how they felt the adoption of hearing aids might impact their relationships. Of the respondents, 63% expressed that these devices may, in fact, be helpful in improving their relationships.
Summary: Hearing aids are effective in deepening relationships and creating more opportunities for bonding with loved ones who suffer from hearing loss.
How Hearing Aids Influence Emotions
Hearing loss can cause breakdowns in communication, leading to frustration, irritation and even resentment in caregivers. Concerns about the health and mental well-being of their loved ones can also cause significant worry.
Therefore, when asked about how hearing aids have influenced their emotions, it was found that fewer caregivers of hearing aid users experienced irritation and worry as compared to those of non-hearing aid users.
- Caregivers of non-hearing aid users: Irritation (27%); worry (23%)
- Caregivers of hearing aid users: Irritation (7%); worry (8%)
Summary: Hearing aids can help to reduce irritation and worry experienced by caregivers by encouraging mutual understanding. It can also help to reduce the anxiety associated with spending time together.
How Wearing A Mask Affects Those With Hearing Loss
Wearing a mask has become a norm in Singapore to protect us from coronavirus. Nonetheless, the mask has inevitably created more communication challenges for those with hearing loss and their caregivers.
Based on the survey, 45% of respondents felt that it was more challenging to read facial cues due to the mask while 51% expressed that muffled voices have made communication extra challenging.
Summary: Wearing a mask has negatively affected the ability of individuals with hearing loss to read facial cues and understand their loved ones.
Are Hearing Aids A Worthy Investment?
While hearing aids have proven to be effective in improving relationships and deepening conversations, these devices can be costly. Despite this, when asked how caregivers perceived the value of hearing aids, 82% shared that these devices were, in fact, worth investing in.
Summary: In spite of their cost, hearing aids are a worthy investment as their intangible benefits outweigh their monetary value.
Tips for Talking to Your Loved Ones About Hearing Loss
Now that you know more about how hearing aids can improve your relationship with loved ones, it’s important to understand how to talk to them about hearing loss and seeking professional help.
Here are some tips:
Pick a good time and setting
Hearing loss can be a sensitive and heavy subject to talk about. Thus, choosing a good time and setting will help to ease you into the topic and reduce the chances of negative emotions flaring.
Pick a space where both you and your loved one feel comfortable and are less likely to be interrupted. Also, choose a day and time when your loved one is in a good mood so that your conversation can proceed more smoothly.
Communicate your concerns with love
Sharing your concerns about hearing loss is crucial in helping your loved one understand how it impacts you and your relationship with them. It’s important to approach the topic in a sensitive, gentle and caring manner without being condescending or judgemental.
Some potential concerns include:
- How hearing loss is affecting your relationship
Hearing loss can make it difficult for you to communicate with your loved one, causing both parties to avoid talking to one another. It can also result in misunderstandings, leading to arguments. Over time, this can create a rift in your relationship.
- How hearing loss is affecting both parties’ physical and mental health
Hearing loss can affect the mental and physical health of both you and your loved one. Their speech, language and cognitive ability can suffer if the condition is left untreated, while breakdowns in communication can leave them feeling isolated and lonely.
On the other hand, as a caregiver, you may feel stressed, worried and frustrated coping with the effects of hearing loss. This can take a toll on your physical and mental health.
Book an appointment to have your hearing tested together
The journey towards restoring your loved one’s hearing is a journey taken together. Hence, you can start by offering to take a hearing test together with them. This will also help in your understanding of their care needs.
Learn more about hearing loss together
After having your hearing tested, you can offer to learn more about hearing loss, including the signs, effects and treatment solutions, together with your loved one. This can be done in the form of online resources, books and even seminars or webinars.
FAQs About Hearing Aids
What are the different types of hearing aids?
There are 2 main types of hearing aids — behind-the-ear and in-the-ear hearing aids.
- Behind-the-ear (BTE)
BTE hearing aids are worn behind the ear and the user receives sound through an earpiece inside the ear. The 2 types of BTE devices are traditional BTE and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE).
- In-the-ear (ITE)
As ITE hearing aids are worn inside the ear, each device is custom-made to suit the shape and size of each user’s ear. They’re more discreet than their BTE counterparts as well.
ITE hearing aids can be classified into in-the-canal (ITC), completely-in-the-canal (CIC) and invisible-in-the-canal (IIC).
How do I choose a hearing aid?
Each individual has unique hearing and lifestyle needs that’ll affect their choice of hearing aids. To better understand your level of hearing, you can take a quick and simple online hearing test. Depending on the results, you may be recommended to consult a hearing care professional for their advice.
Furthermore, reading about the types and brands of hearing aids available on the market will also help in understanding the choices available to you.