Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many aspects of your daily life. Your pastimes, your professional life, and even your love life can be impacted by hearing loss, for example. For couples who are coping with hearing loss, communication can become strained. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent arguments. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively impact your relationship in substantial ways.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? These challenges occur, in part, because individuals are usually oblivious that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is usually a slow-moving and hard to notice condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) may not notice that hearing loss is the root cause of your communication problems. This can result in both partners feeling alienated and can make it difficult to find workable solutions.

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

Can relationships be affected by hearing loss?

It’s very easy to disregard hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. This can lead to significant misunderstandings between couples. The following common issues can develop because of this:

  • Feeling ignored: You would most likely feel like you’re being disregarded if you addressed somebody and they didn’t respond. This can often occur when one partner is suffering from hearing loss and isn’t aware of it. Feeling as if your partner isn’t paying attention to you is not good for long-term relationship health.
  • Arguments: Arguments are pretty common in pretty much all relationships. But arguments will be even more aggravating when one or both partners have hearing loss. For some couples, arguments will ignite more frequently due to an increase in misunderstandings. 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).
  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the cornerstone of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. As a result, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, leading to more frustration and tension.
  • It’s not uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs when somebody hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very distinctly, but somehow does not hear “we need to take out the trash before we eat”. Sometimes, selective hearing is absolutely unintended, and in others, it can be a conscious choice. Spouses will frequently start to miss particular words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound garbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can frequently be mistaken for “selective hearing,” causing resentment and tension in the relationship.

In many cases, this friction starts to occur before any actual diagnosis of hearing loss. If someone doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the core of the problem, or if they are ignoring their symptoms, feelings of resentment could get worse.

Advice for living with someone who has hearing loss

How do you live with somebody who has hearing loss when hearing loss can result in so much conflict? For couples who are willing to develop new communication techniques, this usually is not an issue. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner is dealing with hearing loss, patience is especially important. You may have to repeat yourself more often or vary the volume of your voice. You may also have to speak more slowly. The effectiveness of your communication can be significantly improved by exercising this type of patience.
  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of different words: Normally, 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. Hearing loss can impact 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 strengthen your message.
  • Try to talk face-to-face as frequently as possible: For somebody who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give lots of visual cues. Your partner will be able to make use of facial cues and body language. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to maintain concentration. 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 significant anxiety (like going to the grocery store 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.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner regulate their hearing loss. 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 impact 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 controlling any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

Hearing examinations are generally non-invasive and quite simple. Typically, you will simply put on a pair of headphones and listen for specific 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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