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How Does Hearing Loss Affect Communication

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Did you know that hearing loss can affect your ability to communicate? It might not seem like a big deal, but it's something that we all need to be aware of. In this blog post, we will talk about a few things that you should know about hearing loss and how it can affect your ability to communicate.

Delayed Language and Speech Development

Hearing loss can affect a child's ability to develop language and speech. A study by the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) found that children with moderate-severe hearing loss had lower receptive vocabulary scores than their same-age peers who did not have a hearing impairment.

In other words, children with hearing loss were less able to understand what others were saying. In addition, the study found that delayed language development is more likely in a child who has been diagnosed with learning disabilities or attention deficit disorder (ADD) and those whose parents have limited education levels.

While some communication difficulties may be present at birth for people with congenital hearing loss; however, most communication problems develop later due to lack of exposure and experience. 

Impacts the Ability to Distinguish Sounds

Hearing loss can impact the ability to distinguish sounds. The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural, which involves damage to the cochlea or auditory nerve in the inner ear. This can impair your ability to hear high-pitched noises and speech that has similar pitch ranges. It's also possible that you might experience difficulty distinguishing separate sound sources since they are all equally loud. Again, this can impact the ability to distinguish sounds.

There are some warning signs that you might be experiencing hearing loss, such as:

  • Difficulty understanding speech on TV or in a group conversation.
  • Frequently asking people to repeat themselves during conversations and not understanding them when they do so.
  • Trouble distinguishing similar sounds, such as sh and f, or the sound of a motor running with that of an air conditioner.

If you think you might be experiencing hearing loss, it's essential to visit your hearing instrument specialist (HIS) for further evaluation. They can determine whether any type of treatment is necessary, including custom amplification so that what people are saying remains clear even if they're speaking softly.

Increases Social Anxiety

One study found that children with hearing loss have significantly more social anxiety than their peers without disabilities. Therefore, increased awareness of the social world is essential and an increase in self-monitoring and other coping mechanisms to decrease levels of anxiety among those who live with this disability. 

Those with milder forms might not need any treatment if they can take care of themselves. However, it may be necessary for others to seek assistance for living and communicating properly to lead successful lives.

Additionally, the cost of hearing aids is relative, but insurance companies are beginning to cover them for those who have a severe loss. This can help drastically improve the quality of life for someone living with this disability by allowing them to hear more clearly and functionally without having to take away from their other needs.

Improves the Interpretation of Non-Verbal Cues

As the hearing loss progresses, people may begin to rely more heavily on non-verbal cues such as facial expressions and body language for meaning. This becomes especially important when communicating with someone who is not speaking clearly or loudly enough to understand. 

People often attempt to compensate by repeating words multiple times, asking frequent questions about what was said and rephrasing statements differently if they didn't hear correctly the first time around. They also tend to take guesses at what something might have been rather than stopping communication altogether, resulting in diminished efficiency of their conversations overall.

The inability to communicate effectively can lead those experiencing hearing loss into social isolation as it's difficult for others without significant impairment to keep up with this kind of communication. This problem can be compounded by spouses or partners who have trouble adjusting to the different ways their loved ones are communicating with them, resulting in strained relationships. 

Due to these difficulties people often shy away from social situations and interactions that they know would leave them feeling frustrated.

Hearing loss can affect communication in a variety of ways. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the various effects so that you are able to communicate effectively with people who are experiencing hearing loss or use amplification devices for their hearing disability. Learn more about your options today by contacting Niagara Hearing and Speech Clinic at 905-938-1661.