Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect many areas of your daily life. Your hobbies, your professional life, and even your love life can be impacted by hearing loss, for instance. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become tense. This can cause increased tension, more disputes, and even the development of animosity. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively impact your relationship in significant ways.

So, how does hearing loss impact relationships? These difficulties arise, in part, because people are often unaware that they even have 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 base cause of your communication problems. This can lead to both partners feeling alienated and can make it difficult to find practical solutions.

Frequently, a diagnosis of hearing loss along with practical strategies from a hearing specialist can help couples start communicating again, and improve their relationships.

Can hearing loss affect relationships?

It’s very easy to disregard hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. Couples can have considerable misunderstandings as a result of this. The following common issues can develop as a result:

  • It isn’t uncommon 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 distinctly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. In some circumstances, selective hearing is a conscious action, in other instances, it’s quite unintended. Spouses will frequently begin 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 mistakes this for “selective hearing”.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is usually the foundation of intimacy. And when that communication becomes harder, all parties may feel more distant from each other. As a result, hearing loss might introduce friction throughout the relationship, ultimately causing more frustration and tension.
  • Feeling ignored: You would most likely feel like you’re being ignored if you addressed somebody and they didn’t respond. This can frequently happen when one partner is experiencing hearing loss and isn’t aware of it. Feeling as if your partner isn’t paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • Arguments: Arguments are rather common in almost all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more aggravating. For some couples, arguments will break out more often because of an increase in misunderstandings. For others, an increase in arguments could be a result of changes in behavior (for example, increasing the volume on the television to painful levels).

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

Tips for living with someone who is dealing with hearing loss

How do you live with somebody who has hearing loss when hearing loss can cause so much conflict? For couples who are willing to establish new communication strategies, this typically is not a problem. Here are some of those strategies:

  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can include things like taking over tasks that cause significant 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.
  • Patience: This is particularly 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 instance. You might also have to talk more slowly. This kind of patience can be challenging, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be controlled with our help. Many areas of tension will fade away and communication will be more successful when hearing loss is well managed. Safety is also a concern 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. We can help your partner better control any of these potential problems.
  • When you repeat what you said, try utilizing different words: Usually, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner fails to hear you. But try changing the words you use instead of using the same words. Some words might be harder to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss effects most. Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.
  • As much as possible, try to look directly into the face of the person you’re speaking with: Communicating face-to-face can furnish a wealth of visual clues for somebody with hearing loss. You will be supplying your partner with body language and facial cues. It’s also easier to preserve concentration and eye contact. This provides your partner with more information to process, and that usually makes it easier to understand your intent.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

A hearing test is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. Usually, you will simply put on a set of headphones and listen for specific tones. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be an important step to more effectively managing symptoms and relationships.

Encouraging your partner to get in touch with us can help ensure 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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