Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Strategies for Stronger Communication

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 instance, can affect your professional life, your favorite pastimes, and even your relationships. Communication can become tense for couples who are coping with hearing loss. This can cause increased tension, more quarrels, and even the growth of animosity. If ignored, in other words, hearing loss can have a substantially negative impact on your relationship.

So, how does hearing loss impact relationships? In part, these difficulties happen because the individuals aren’t aware of the hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is typically a slow-moving and difficult to notice condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) might 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.

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

Can hearing loss affect relationships?

It’s really easy to disregard hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. This can result in significant misunderstandings between couples. The following common problems can develop because of this:

  • Feeling ignored: You would most likely feel like you’re being disregarded if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. This can often occur when one partner is experiencing hearing loss and doesn’t know it. Feeling as if your partner is not paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • It’s not uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when somebody hears “we’re having brownies for dessert” very clearly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the trash before we eat”. In some cases, selective hearing is a conscious action, in other instances, it’s quite unintentional. One of the most frequent effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they might begin to miss words or specific phrases will seem garbled. This can often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” leading to resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Intimacy may suffer: In many relationships, communication is the cornerstone of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. Increased tension and frustration are frequently the consequence.
  • Arguments: It’s not abnormal for arguments to occur in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more frustrating. Arguments can happen more often too. For others, an increase in arguments could be a consequence of changes in behavior (for example, increasing the volume on the television to painful levels).

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

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

If hearing loss can lead to so much conflict in a relationship, how do you live with someone who has hearing loss? For couples who are willing to develop new communication techniques, this typically is not an issue. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Maybe you could do things like taking over trips to the grocery store or other chores that cause your partner anxiety. There also might be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.
  • Patience: This is especially true when you recognize that your partner is coping with hearing loss. You might need to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for example. You may also have to speak more slowly. This kind of patience can be challenging, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Try to talk face-to-face as often as possible: Communicating face-to-face can furnish a wealth of visual cues for someone with hearing loss. You will be providing your partner with body language and facial cues. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to preserve concentration. This provides your partner with more information to process, and that typically makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Make use of different words when you repeat yourself: Usually, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But rather than using the same words over and over again, try changing things up. Hearing loss can affect some frequencies of speech more than others, which means some words might be harder to understand (while others are easier). Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner regulate their hearing loss. When hearing loss is well-managed, communication is generally more effective (and many other areas of tension may go away too). In addition, treating hearing loss is a safety concern: hearing loss can impact your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. You could also fail to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better control any of these potential concerns.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

A hearing examination is a fairly simple, non-invasive experience. Typically, 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.

Encouraging your partner to get in touch with us can help ensure that hearing loss doesn’t undermine your happiness or your partnership.

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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