Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many facets of your day-to-day life can be impacted by Hearing Loss. Untreated hearing loss, for example, can affect your professional life, your favorite pastimes, and even your relationships. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become strained. This can cause increased tension, more disputes, and even the development of animosity. If ignored, in other words, hearing loss can have a significantly negative effect on your relationship.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? In part, these difficulties arise because the parties are not aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss typically is, after all, a slowly advancing condition. As a result, you (and your partner) may not recognize that hearing loss is the underlying cause of your communication issues. Practical solutions may be hard to find as both partners feel increasingly alienated.

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

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

When hearing loss is in the early phases, it can be hard to identify. Couples can have significant misunderstandings as a result of this. The following common problems can develop because of this:

  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the basis 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.
  • Arguments: Arguments are rather common in pretty much all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more aggravating. Arguments can become more frequent too. Hearing loss associated behavioral changes, such as needing volumes to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • It isn’t unusual 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 distinctly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. Sometimes, selective hearing is totally unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious choice. Spouses will often start to miss particular words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound garbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can sometimes lead to tension and resentment because one spouse mistakes this for “selective hearing”.
  • Feeling ignored: You would probably feel like you’re being disregarded if you addressed somebody and they didn’t respond. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is unaware of it, this can often occur. The long-term health of your relationship can be significantly put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being disregarded.

These problems will often start before anyone is diagnosed with hearing loss. Feelings of resentment might be worse when parties don’t suspect hearing loss is the core problem (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on ignoring their symptoms).

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? This will only be a problem for couples who aren’t willing to establish new communication strategies. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Patience: This is particularly true when you know that your partner is struggling with hearing loss. You might have to repeat yourself more frequently or raise the volume of your voice. 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.
  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of different words: When your partner doesn’t hear what you said, you will normally try repeating yourself. But try switching the words you use rather than using the same words. Some words may be more difficult to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss impact most. Your message can be reinforced by changing the words you utilize.
  • 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 effective when hearing loss is well managed. In addition, 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 may also be hard to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get assistance managing any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can consist of things like taking over chores that cause significant anxiety (like going shopping or making phone calls). There also may be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.
  • As much as you can, try to look right into the face of the person you’re speaking with: For somebody who has 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. It’s also easier to preserve concentration and eye contact. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a simpler time understanding what you mean.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing test is a fairly simple, non-invasive experience. In most instances, those who undergo tests will do little more than wear specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a tone. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be an essential step to more effectively managing symptoms and relationships.

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

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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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