One commonly stated adage is that healthy relationships are built on open communication. Anyone who has sought advice on a relationship issue is likely to encounter this principle. Easy as it may seem, open communication can be quite difficult to achieve, and any number of barriers can get in the way of a clear, honest conversation. Take, for instance, the emotional barriers that we experience in trying to communicate our needs and wants. Although entirely in the realm of the heart and mind, these barriers are quite real, preventing us from maintaining a healthy connection to others.
Other barriers are more practical, such as misaligned schedules or a chaotic home environment that makes it difficult to open up. In addition to these many emotional, mental, and practical barriers to open communication, physical limitations can step in, as well. Hearing loss is one of those physical conditions that can form an obstacle between two people in a relationship, including family, friends, romance, professional, and community relationships. The good news is that getting treatment for hearing loss can reduce or remove that barrier once again!
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association designates the month of May each year to Better Hearing and Speech Month, and this year’s special topic is “Building Connections.” Let’s take a moment to consider some of the principles of open communication, that hearing loss can intervene to make it difficult to communicate with others, and the hope provided by hearing assistance.
Principles of Open Communication
Although the adage that “open communication promotes healthy relationships” resounds in our minds, what exactly is open communication? Your mind might go immediately to disclosure of deeply held beliefs and experiences. Indeed, those can be features of open communication, but active listening has been shown to be an even more important aspect.
If both members of a relationship are eagerly trying to disclose their innermost truths, the relationship can become a swirl of missed messages. Listening to what others have to say is the crucial piece of the communication puzzle, not only hearing what they have to say but also seeking to understand more deeply. Contextual messaging is important, as well, making efforts to communicate not only what you are compelled to say but what can be heard in the context of the relationship. Raw statements of opinion might not be the best way to openly communicate in a given situation, so openness does not always mean an unfiltered path from mind to mouth.
Hearing Loss and Blocked Communication
Even those who abide by the principles of open communication can struggle to achieve them when hearing loss intervenes. Missed messages become a practical barrier to open communication when hearing loss makes it impossible to form complete thoughts out of a random assemblage of sounds. Added to the practical barriers that are provided by hearing loss, it can also cause emotional difficulty.
When two people are battling with hearing loss to try to convey messages, they can become frustrated and even angry. Many people in relationships with those who have hearing loss report the feeling that they are taking out their frustrations on them. Whereas open communication would enable the sharing of these feelings of frustration, hearing loss can reenter the conversation with more limitations.
Hearing Loss Treatment and Open Communication
Getting treatment for hearing loss is a way to build a bridge between two people in a relationship, rebuilding the communication that was once blocked. When the connection is formed once again, a fluid exchange of listening and expression can be reconstructed between two people, creating a context for trust and support. Only when you know that the other person hears, understands, and accepts you can you find that a relationship is healthy and growing toward a deeper connection, and hearing aids can make that communication possible.
Why not make an appointment today to have a hearing test with one of our hearing health professionals? We can offer a thorough diagnosis of your abilities and pair them with the right kind of assistance for your individual needs and active lifestyle. The road toward a healthy relationship is smooth and wide when hearing aids facilitate open communication. Contact us today!