“No man is an island”, said the English poet John Donne back in 1624 – people are not meant to make their way through life alone. We need other people to interact with, share our thoughts, and do things with. Family and friends undoubtedly play a particular role here. It is in the family and the circle of close friends that we feel particularly at ease and secure, and in which we can be ourselves.
And here it is all the more important that we understand one another – in the truest sense of the word – and that there are no unnecessary misunderstandings. It is no wonder therefore that hearing loss in a family member is a subject that can concern a family greatly: 23% of relatives of people with hearing loss but without a hearing aid report that the hearing loss is a frequent subject of conversation in their family. 29% try often or very often to persuade their relative to wear a hearing aid. Sometimes no great persuasion is necessary; sometimes the family itself provides the necessary nudge. Tanja Buelter, a well-known German journalist and TV presenter, describes the moment when she decided to do something about her hearing loss: “I generally have difficulties in busy places with a lot of people, where I often cannot tell the direction a voice or a noise is coming from. One day, my three-year old son called for me from the crowd, I turned in the wrong direction, and lost sight of him. At that moment I knew that things could not go on like this.”
Once the hearing loss has been corrected, not only does normality quickly return, but also enjoyment of shared activities. 62% of hearing aid owners report that their hearing loss is no longer an issue among family and friends since they have been wearing a hearing aid. 86% feel they are accepted by their friends just as they are. 74% keep close contact with their family and 73% enjoy doing things with their friends (see Figure 13). Even severe hearing loss need not be a reason to do with - out activities with friends, as is shown by the following figure: around 41% of hearing aid users with moderate to severe hearing loss say that they have a large circle of friends. Of the respondents with moderate to severe hearing loss but without hearing aids, only 27% agreed with this statement.
Figure 13: Statements “Family and friends” (Group 1, HI Owners)