Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many areas of your daily life. Neglected hearing loss, for instance, can impact your professional life, your favorite pastimes, and even your relationships. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become strained. Animosity can develop from the increased stress and more frequent quarrels. If neglected, in other words, hearing loss can have a significantly negative impact on your relationship.

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? In part, these hardships happen because the individuals are not aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss typically is, after all, a gradually 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 difficult to find practical solutions.

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

Can hearing loss affect relationships?

It’s really easy to disregard hearing loss when it first presents. Couples can have substantial misunderstandings as a result of this. The following common issues can develop because of this:

  • It’s not unusual for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when someone hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very clearly, but somehow does not hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. In some cases, selective hearing is a conscious action, in other instances, it’s quite unintentional. Spouses will frequently start to miss certain words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound jumbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can sometimes result in tension and resentment because one spouse confuses this for “selective hearing”.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is usually the foundation of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties may feel more separated from one another. Increased tension and frustration are frequently the consequence.
  • Feeling ignored: When somebody 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 often take place. Feeling like your partner isn’t paying attention to you is not good for long-term relationship health.
  • Arguments: It’s not unusual for arguments to take place in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more frustrating. For some couples, arguments will erupt more often due to an increase in misunderstandings. For others, an increase in arguments could be a consequence of changes in behavior (for example, boosting the volume on the television to painful volumes).

These issues will frequently begin before anybody is diagnosed with hearing loss. Feelings of bitterness might be worse when parties don’t know hearing loss is the root problem (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on disregarding their symptoms).

Tips for living with someone who has hearing loss

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

  • As much as you can, try to look right into the face of the individual you’re speaking with: Communicating face-to-face can supply a wealth of visual cues for someone with hearing loss. Your partner will be able to read facial cues and body language. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to preserve concentration. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a less difficult time understanding what you mean.
  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner has hearing loss, patience is especially important. You may need to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for instance. You might also have to speak more slowly. This type of patience can be a challenge, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Use different words when you repeat yourself: When your partner doesn’t hear what you said, you will usually try repeating yourself. But try switching the words you use instead of using the same words. Hearing loss can impact some frequencies of speech more than others, which means some words may be more difficult to understand (while others are easier). Changing your word choice can help strengthen your message.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can include things like taking over tasks that cause substantial stress (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.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be controlled with our help. When hearing loss is well-managed, communication is generally more successful (and many other areas of tension may recede also). Additionally, managing hearing loss is a safety concern: hearing loss can effect 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?

Hearing assessments are typically non-invasive and quite simple. Typically, you will simply put on a set of headphones and listen for particular tones. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

Take the hearing loss related tension out of your relationship by encouraging your partner to come see us for a hearing exam.

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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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