Love and Hearing Loss: Communication Tips for Couples

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many aspects of your day-to-day life can be affected by Hearing Loss. Your pastimes, your professional life, and even your love life can be impacted by hearing loss, for instance. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become strained. This can cause increased stress, more disputes, and even the development of animosity. If ignored, in other words, hearing loss can have a substantially negative impact on your relationship.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? These difficulties occur, in part, because people are usually unaware that they even have hearing loss. Hearing loss usually is, after all, a slowly developing condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) may not detect that hearing loss is the underlying cause of your communication issues. This can lead to both partners feeling alienated and can make it difficult to find practical solutions.

Frequently, a diagnosis of hearing loss along with practical strategies from a hearing specialist can help couples begin communicating again, and better their relationships.

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 problems can develop as a result:

  • Arguments: Arguments are pretty 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 consequence of changes in behavior (for example, boosting the volume on the television to painful levels).
  • It isn’t uncommon 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 distinctly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the trash before we eat”. In some cases, selective hearing is absolutely unintended, and in others, it can be a conscious choice. One of the most common effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they might begin to miss words or certain phrases will seem garbled. This can frequently be mistaken for “selective hearing,” resulting in resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Feeling ignored: When somebody doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel dismissed. This can often happen when one partner is experiencing hearing loss and isn’t aware of it. Feeling like your partner isn’t paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is usually the foundation of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. Increased tension and frustration are frequently the result.

These problems will frequently start before anybody is diagnosed with hearing loss. If someone doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the root of the problem, or if they are disregarding their symptoms, feelings of resentment could get worse.

Tips for living with someone who has hearing loss

How do you live with somebody who has hearing loss when hearing loss can cause so much conflict? This will only be a problem for couples who aren’t willing to establish new communication strategies. Here are a few of those strategies:

  • Try to talk face-to-face as frequently as you can: For someone who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give an abundance of visual cues. Your partner will be able to read facial cues and body language. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to preserve concentration. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a simpler time understanding what you mean.
  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of different words: When your partner doesn’t hear what you said, you will usually try repeating yourself. But try changing the words you use instead of using the same words. Certain words might be more difficult to hear than others depending on what frequencies your hearing loss effects most. Your message can be strengthened by changing the words you use.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner regulate their hearing loss. When hearing loss is under control, communication is usually more successful (and many other areas of tension may recede as well). Safety is also a concern with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. It might also be difficult to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help controlling any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Maybe you could do things like taking over trips to the grocery store or other tasks that cause your partner stress. You can also ask your partner’s hearing specialist if there are ways you can help them get used to their hearing aids.
  • Patience: This is especially relevant when you know that your partner is dealing 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. This type of patience can be challenging, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

A hearing exam is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. In most instances, those who undergo tests will do little more than put on specialized headphones and raise their hand when they hear a sound. You will be better able to manage your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

Take the hearing loss associated 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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