Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Strategies for Better Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many aspects of your daily life can be affected by Hearing Loss. Neglected hearing loss, for example, can affect your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become strained. This can cause increased stress, more quarrels, and even the development of animosity. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in significant ways.

So, how does hearing loss impact relationships? In part, these hardships occur because the individuals aren’t aware of the hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is typically a slow-moving and hard to notice condition. Communication might be tense because of hearing loss and you and your partner may not even be aware it’s the root of the problem. This can lead to both partners feeling alienated and can make it hard to find practical solutions.

Relationships can be improved and communication can begin to be repaired when hearing loss is diagnosed and couples get practical solutions from us.

Can hearing loss affect relationships?

It’s very easy to ignore hearing loss when it first presents. Couples can have significant misunderstandings as a result of this. The following common problems can develop as a result:

  • Feeling ignored: When someone doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel dismissed. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is unaware of it, this can frequently occur. Feeling like your partner isn’t paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • Arguments: Arguments are pretty common in almost all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more frustrating. Arguments can happen more often too. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, like needing volumes to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Couples often confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when somebody effortlessly hears something like “let’s go get some ice cream”, but somehow misses something like “let’s do some spring cleaning”. Sometimes, selective hearing is absolutely unintended, and in others, it can be a conscious choice. One of the most frequent effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they may start to miss words or specific phrases will seem garbled. This can frequently be mistaken for “selective hearing,” resulting in resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is 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, ultimately causing more frustration and tension.

In many cases, this friction begins to happen before any actual diagnosis of hearing loss. If someone doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the root of the issue, or if they are disregarding their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be worse.

Advice for living with someone who has hearing loss

How do you live with somebody who is dealing with hearing loss when hearing loss can create so much conflict? For couples who are willing to establish new communication strategies, this usually isn’t an issue. Here are a few of those strategies:

  • Try to communicate face-to-face as often as you can: Communicating face-to-face can supply a wealth of visual clues for somebody with hearing loss. You will be providing your partner with body language and facial cues. It’s also easier to preserve concentration and eye contact. This provides your partner with more information to process, and that usually makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of different words: When your partner doesn’t understand what you said, you will usually try repeating yourself. But try switching the words you use rather than using the same words. Hearing loss can affect some frequencies of speech more than others, which means some words might be more difficult to understand (while others are easier). Changing your word choice can help strengthen your message.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be controlled with our help. Many areas of stress will fade away and communication will be more successful when hearing loss is well managed. 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 may also be hard to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get assistance controlling any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Patience: This is especially relevant when you know that your partner is dealing with hearing loss. You may have to repeat yourself more often or vary the volume of your voice. It may also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be significantly improved by practicing this kind of patience.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Perhaps you could do things like taking over the grocery shopping or other chores that cause your partner anxiety. There also may be ways you can help your partner get used to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

A hearing exam is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. In most circumstances, people who undergo tests will do little more than put on specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a tone. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be a significant step to more effectively 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 assessment.

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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