Black and white picture of sad woman looking out the window because of hearing loss.

Does hearing loss become anything more than just inconvenient? Left untreated, hearing loss has a major affect on overall health, career advancement and, yes, even, that social life. Those who tend to take their hearing life for granted struggle most when they start noticing little things like conversations that sound muddled or TVs that needs more volume with every show. It might take a minute for them to connect the dots between the things they no longer hear and their potentially failing ear health.

Of course, there are ways to circumvent hearing challenges in the beginning like asking people to repeat themselves all the time or turning up the volume but it does change things – beginning with your social life. Consider some ways that your social life might suffer if you don’t take the steps necessary to improve your hearing.

Conversation Change

Communication is a major part of being social, but that becomes a challenge as hearing loss increases. It will start small with sound dropping in and out as you listen to people talk. It’s common for people with mild hearing loss tend to complain about not hearing words with “S” or “F” clearly. Certain voices might sound faint or mumbled, as well – usually high or low pitches.

Over time, environmental noise starts to take over your conversations. It will be impossible to hear anything but the air conditioner or fan running in the background. Something as innocent as the wind blowing around you as you try to have a discussion outdoors on the patio leads to frustration.

You may begin to feel left out as the people around you talk but you struggle to hear and understand everything they say. That feeling of isolation in a room full of conversation has an impact.

Real Isolation Becomes a Real Thing

The inability to hear what a loved one, partner or family member says clearly causes misunderstandings that lead to conflicts. The friends in your life can start to treat you differently, too. They avoid conversations with you because you don’t understand them, anyway. It makes them uncomfortable to be around you. The phone stops ringing because you never answer anyway. When you do hear it ring, it’s a struggle to interpret what is being said.

Your friends don’t ask you to hang out anymore, either. You never understand the movies or TV show, so what’s the point. When your hearing loss started, you may have felt isolated even though you weren’t, but as it progresses, you really do spend more time alone or socializing on social media pages instead of face-to-face.

Intimacy Vanishes

They say good relationships require effective communication, but that suffers when you start to lose your hearing. What once was a successful relationship built on effective communication is now a series of miscommunications. Maybe, you didn’t stop and pick up milk because you have no idea she asked you to do it or you miss a date because you got the time wrong.

That special partner frustrates easily because every conversation consists of you saying “What?”. It is not easy to stand by and watch someone you love change without understanding why it’s happening. You lose that connection you once had with a close friend or partner because you refuse to accept that you need to see a hearing professional for help.

It’s depressing to think of how many ways losing your can hearing cost you, but for most people, there is hope. It’s estimated that 14 percent of people between the ages of 45 and 65 suffer mild to moderate hearing loss. For these individuals, getting a professional hearing test and investing in hearing aids is all it takes to return them to the social life they once enjoyed.