Interactive Impairment

This week I saw a man who has been using hearing aids for a number of years and he was talking to me about his hearing loss. What struck me, was the way in which he was describing the effects of his hearing loss. He described his hearing loss as “an interactive impairment which is more egregious with his partner.” I thought this was very insightful because often I will hear someone with hearing loss say that they don’t need their hearing aids when they are at home because it is just them and their partner. This man articulated this issue beautifully in my mind because the difficulty that hearing loss causes is not as simple as hearing. It is an interruption to an interaction that has a flow or a life to it. When the flow is disrupted, there becomes frustration or irritation on both sides. In my mind, as well as the articulate Mr. Doyle, the term interactive impairment should be the new way to describe hearing loss.