Article image

Hearing loss can be challenging for the whole family

Hearing loss, especially in older adults and senior citizens, can wreak havoc on personal well-being and relationships.

Around 300 million people in the world live with hearing loss. While the condition can be challenging enough for the individual, it can also impact family and friends, especially when they are left out of the picture when it comes to treatment options.

A new study from the University of Nottingham and published in the journal Trends in Hearing, shows just how important it can be to factor in friends and family are when looking at therapy options for hearing loss or deafness.

Vanessa Vas, a Ph.D. student at Nottingham, led the research and focused on “communication partners,” or those individuals who are closest to the patient diagnosed with hearing loss.

Communication partners can offer insight to create a more detailed picture of an individual’s hearing loss and impairment.

For the study, the researchers looked at over 70 previous studies covering complaints from people with hearing loss and those closest to them and found common frustrations and concerns on both sides.

Some of the major complaints for people with hearing problems included difficulty hearing the phone ringing, needing to raise the volume of the radio and TV, and not being able to converse as well in louder environments or social situations.

Conversely, communication partners had major difficulties with always answering the phone, trying to speak over raised volumes, attending more events alone because of the communication difficulties with their partners, and feelings of guilt and stress in reaction to the hearing loss of a loved one.

“Hearing loss is a chronic condition that affects the whole family. Yet, to our knowledge, our work represents the first attempt to piece together a picture of the effect of hearing loss from the perspectives of people with hearing loss and their partners,” said Miss Vas.

Miss Vas’s study shows the importance of including communication partners and family members during clinical consultations and decision making.

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day