Do you text everyone and everything these days? It’s no surprise — texting makes the world fast and convenient, but for people with hearing loss, texting is frequently a way to avoid the difficulty of communicating over the telephone.

Texting is not the same as a phone call, though. The personal connection and spontaneous communication you can achieve talking to someone can’t be replicated in a text message. And we know that’s true from both personal experience and research.

Personal Connection Is a Beautiful Thing

A few years ago, writer Hanna Marton gave up texting for one week to see if telephone connections made a difference in her quality of life. She discovered that she had been missing out on opportunities for personal connections with family and friends — that the carefully crafted texts she usually sent didn’t provide the same fulfillment as a spontaneous, two-way conversation.

Research supports her findings: A 2020 study found that while people often choose to text friends to avoid the awkwardness of a phone call, talking to that friend on the phone was far more rewarding (and wasn’t really awkward at all). Other research has shown that talking on the phone can increase levels of the “feel-good” hormone oxytocin, as Marton points out in her article.

The Downsides of Texting

While texting can be beneficial and is a great tool for those with hearing loss, it does come with downsides.

Texting Prevents Non-Verbal Cues

Communication is not just limited to what we say. Non-verbal communication, such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, posture, and body language are all important ingredients in a conversation.

“Non-verbal cues are a huge part of the way we communicate, especially with our significant others,” explains Sal Raichbach, PsyD, a psychologist at Ambrosia Treatment Center. “When texting is the primary tool for communicating, connections with others are built on a framework of incomplete communication. Without non-verbal cues, it’s difficult to pick up on the emotions behind someone’s words.”

The lack of non-verbal cues in texting often leads to miscommunication and misinterpretation. How many times have you misread the tone of a loved one’s text message?

Checking Your Phone for Texts Nonstop

Being tied to your phone and constantly checking for texts takes you out of the moment and your present environment. How can you be engaged with the world around you when your eyes are always focused on your phone?

According to psychiatrist Nivea Briggitte Calico, MD, founder, and director of East Village Psychiatry in New York, “Constantly texting can allow the real-life present to completely pass you by, leaving you to miss the beautiful blue sky above you or the cute dog being walked on her leash. Fewer cute dogs, less general happiness. Not worth it.”

Hearing Loss Doesn’t Mean a Loss of Phone Calls

If you have hearing loss, you might use text messages to avoid strain and complications of not understanding phone calls, but hearing loss shouldn’t impact your ability to communicate on the phone when you want to.

If you or someone you love has hearing loss and needs captioned telephone service, CaptionCall can help them experience the joys of person-to-person calls. Life is calling.