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Many people go through hearing loss throughout their lives. Sometimes this is temporary, and sometimes it’s a permanent part of your life. People also experience hearing loss in different ways. 

Some people find that hearing loss is difficult to deal with, especially if it happens later in life and they have to adjust to a new way of living. Other people embrace their deafness and see it as part of their identity. 

But how can losing your hearing affect your relationships and the way you see yourself, and how can you navigate these changes?

Preventing Hearing Loss

If you want to prevent hearing loss, the most important thing to do is see a hearing doctor. As you get older, you will need regular checkups as you may not notice gradual changes in your hearing. 

While many forms of hearing loss aren’t preventable, there are some common hearing loss prevention methods. These can delay hearing loss or even prevent further hearing loss from occurring, especially if has an exterior cause.

For example, if you work in a loud environment, it will damage your hearing. Use ear protection or consider changing your career if you want to protect your hearing. If you’re prone to ear infections, get prompt treatment from the doctor to prevent any permanent damage. 

But what if you can’t prevent your hearing loss?

The Deaf Community

If you were born hearing, it’s understandable that you don’t want to lose this ability. Many people experiencing hearing loss struggle to adapt and communicate in a new way. 

But it’s not uncommon for people who were born deaf or lost their hearing early in life to consider themselves as part of a Deaf community, complete with a separate culture. Some who lose their hearing later in life also find a home in this community.

While many deaf people can read lips and speak a spoken language, they typically rely on visual language such as sign language or body language to communicate. Hearing, and subsequently the lack of hearing, is something that permeates every aspect of your life. 

Different people deal with their lives in different ways, so some deaf people ascribe to Deaf culture, while others don’t. There’s no right or wrong way to live. 

How Hearing Loss Can Affect Communication

One of the most important facets of any relationship is communication. Unfortunately, deafness can make communication more difficult, especially if you lose your hearing later in life. 

If you were born deaf or lost your hearing at an early age, you can learn how to communicate with different people. This is one of the reasons why people appreciate Deaf culture and the community surrounding it because it’s easier to communicate with people who speak your language. 

But if you’ve lived your whole life being able to hear and understand other people when they speak, it’s much more challenging to adjust. Even if you are able to use sign language, that doesn’t mean that the other people in your life are able or willing to learn it. 

Some people adjust by learning how to read lips, but this depends on being able to clearly see the face and mouth of the person speaking to you. Even in a perfect scenario, you have to expend even more effort to have a conversation.

Relationship Issues and How to Cope

Many people have found it difficult to maintain healthy relationships as they lose their hearing. Any kind of change can be hard to deal with, even for married couples. 

If your spouse has to repeat themselves or shout to be heard, they might get frustrated. The harder it is to communicate, the more difficult it is to maintain your relationship. 

Your mental health can also suffer, as many people find deafness to be isolating. If you’re hard of hearing, it can be impossible to keep up with a conversation involving multiple people. You feel left out and might find it easier just to stay quiet and not get involved at all.

The key to dealing with these issues is, ironically, communication.

Talk to your loved ones about any difficulties you’re having. If it’s helpful in your situation, consider getting hearing aids to help you to maintain your hearing as you’re used to. Learn new ways to communicate with your family.

For example, you can watch television with closed captions rather than turning the volume up. It’s an adjustment, but it allows you to enjoy something in the same way as you did before. 

It can take time, but if you put in the effort, you can maintain healthy relationships. 

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