Love and Hearing Loss: Communication Tips for Couples

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect many aspects of your daily life. Untreated hearing loss, for example, can impact your professional life, your favorite pastimes, and even your relationships. Communication can become strained for couples who are dealing with hearing loss. Animosity can develop from the increased stress and more frequent arguments. If ignored, in other words, hearing loss can have a substantially negative effect on your relationship.

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? In part, these difficulties happen because the individuals are not aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss usually is, after all, a slowly developing condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) might not detect that hearing loss is the base cause of your communication problems. Practical solutions might be difficult to find as both partners feel increasingly alienated.

Relationships can be improved and communication can start to be mended when hearing loss is diagnosed and couples get effective solutions from us.

Can relationships be affected by hearing loss?

When hearing loss is in the early phases, it can be hard to identify. This can result in substantial misunderstandings between couples. The following common issues can develop because of this:

  • Feeling ignored: When someone doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel disregarded. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is unaware of it, this can frequently take place. The long-term health of your relationship can be seriously put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being dismissed.
  • It isn’t unusual for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when somebody hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very clearly, but somehow does not hear “we need to take out the trash before we eat”. In some instances, selective hearing is a conscious behavior, in other instances, it’s quite unintentional. One of the most common effects of hearing loss on a partner is that they might begin to miss words or specific phrases will seem garbled. This can sometimes lead to tension and resentment because one spouse mistakes this for “selective hearing”.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is usually the foundation of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. As a result, hearing loss might introduce friction throughout the relationship, causing more frustration and tension.
  • Arguments: Arguments are rather common in pretty much all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more aggravating. Arguments can become more frequent too. For others, an increase in arguments could be a result of changes in behavior (for instance, boosting the volume on the television to painful levels).

These issues will often begin before anybody is diagnosed with hearing loss. Feelings of resentment may be worse when parties don’t know hearing loss is the root issue (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on dismissing their symptoms).

Living with a person who is dealing with loss of hearing

How do you live with somebody who is dealing with hearing loss when hearing loss can cause so much conflict? For couples who are willing to formulate new communication strategies, this typically isn’t a problem. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Try to communicate face-to-face as often as possible: Communicating face-to-face can furnish a wealth of visual cues for somebody with hearing loss. Your partner will be able to read facial cues and body language. It’s also easier to maintain concentration and eye contact. This provides your partner with more information to process, and that usually makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can include things like taking over tasks that cause significant stress (like going to the grocery store or making phone calls). There also may be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.
  • Patience: This is especially true when you recognize that your partner is struggling with hearing loss. You may need to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for instance. It might also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be significantly improved by practicing this type of patience.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be managed with our help. Many areas of tension will fade away and communication will be more successful when hearing loss is well controlled. Additionally, treating hearing loss is a safety issue: hearing loss can effect your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. It might also be difficult to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get assistance managing any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of different words: Usually, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But try switching the words you use rather than using the same words. Some words might be more difficult to hear than others depending on what frequencies your hearing loss effects most. Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

Hearing examinations are generally non-invasive and really simple. In most circumstances, individuals who undergo tests will do little more than put on specialized headphones and raise their hand when they hear a sound. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be an essential step to more successfully managing symptoms and relationships.

Take the hearing loss related tension out of your relationship by encouraging your partner to come see us for a hearing examination.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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