Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

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

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? In part, these difficulties arise because the individuals aren’t aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss typically is, after all, a slowly advancing condition. Communication might be strained because of hearing loss and you and your partner might not even be aware it’s the root of the problem. This can result in both partners feeling alienated and can make it hard to find workable solutions.

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

Can relationships be impacted by hearing loss?

When hearing loss is in the early phases, it’s difficult to detect. This can result in significant misunderstandings between couples. 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 ignored. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can often take place. The long-term health of your relationship can be severely put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being dismissed.
  • Intimacy may suffer: In many 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, leading to more frustration and tension.
  • Arguments: Arguments are pretty common in pretty much all relationships. But arguments will be even more frustrating when one or both partners are dealing with hearing loss. For some couples, arguments will erupt more often because of an increase in misunderstandings. For others, an increase in arguments could be a result of changes in behavior (for instance, increasing the volume on the television to painful levels).
  • Couples often mistake hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when someone hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very clearly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. In some instances, selective hearing is a conscious behavior, in other cases, it’s quite unintended. One of the most frequent effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they might start to miss words or certain phrases will seem garbled. This can often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” resulting in resentment and tension in the relationship.

Often, this friction begins to happen before any actual diagnosis of hearing loss. Feelings of resentment may be worse when parties don’t suspect hearing loss is the root issue (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on ignoring their symptoms).

Living with a person who is dealing with loss of hearing

If hearing loss can lead to so much conflict in a relationship, how can you live with someone who has hearing loss? For couples who are willing to establish new communication strategies, this typically is not a problem. Here are a few of those strategies:

  • Try to communicate face-to-face as often as you can: Communicating face-to-face can provide 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. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have an easier time understanding what you mean.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can include things like taking over tasks that cause substantial anxiety (like going shopping or making phone calls). You can also ask your partner’s hearing specialist if there are ways you can help them get used to their hearing aids.
  • When you repeat what you said, try utilizing different words: Usually, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But try changing the words you use rather than using the same words. Hearing loss can impact some frequencies of speech more than others, which means some words may be harder to understand (while others are easier). Your message can be strengthened by changing the words you utilize.
  • 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 effective when hearing loss is well managed. Safety is also an issue with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. You might also fail to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get assistance managing any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Patience: This is particularly relevant when you know that your partner is dealing with hearing loss. You might have to repeat yourself more often or vary the volume of your voice. You may also have to talk more slowly. This kind of patience can be challenging, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing exam is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. Usually, you will simply put on a pair of headphones and listen for particular tones. 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 test.

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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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