Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many facets of your day-to-day life can be impacted by Hearing Loss. Your pastimes, 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 strained. Animosity can develop from the increased stress and more frequent arguments. If untreated, in other words, hearing loss can have a significantly negative effect on your relationship.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? In part, these tribulations arise because the individuals aren’t aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss usually 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 issue. This can result in both partners feeling alienated and can make it hard to find practical solutions.

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

Can relationships be affected by hearing loss?

When hearing loss is in the early phases, it’s difficult to detect. Couples can have significant misunderstandings as a result of this. Consequently, there are a few common problems that develop:

  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the basis of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties may feel more distant from each other. Consequently, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, causing more frustration and tension.
  • Arguments: It isn’t uncommon for arguments to occur in a relationship, at least, sometimes. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more frustrating. Arguments can become more frequent too. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, such as needing volumes to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Couples often confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when somebody hears “we’re having brownies for dessert” very distinctly, but somehow does not hear “we need to take out the trash before we eat”. Sometimes, selective hearing is absolutely unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. One of the most frequent effects of hearing loss on a partner is that they might start to miss words or certain phrases will seem garbled. This can sometimes lead to tension and resentment because one spouse mistakes this for “selective hearing”.
  • Feeling ignored: When somebody doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel ignored. This can frequently occur when one partner is suffering from hearing loss and doesn’t know it. Feeling like your partner isn’t paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.

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

Tips for living with someone who is dealing with hearing loss

If hearing loss can lead to so much conflict in a relationship, how do you live with someone who has hearing loss? This will only be a problem for couples who aren’t willing to formulate new communication strategies. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Use different words when you repeat yourself: When your partner doesn’t hear what you said, you will typically try repeating yourself. But try changing the words you use instead of using the same words. Certain words might be harder to hear than others depending on what frequencies your hearing loss impact most. Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can include things like taking over tasks that cause substantial stress (such as 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: Your partner’s hearing loss can be managed with our help. Many areas of stress 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 could also fail to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better manage any of these potential concerns.
  • As much as you can, try to look right into the face of the individual you’re talking with: Communicating face-to-face can furnish a wealth of visual clues for someone with hearing loss. Your partner will be able to make use of facial cues and body language. 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.
  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner has hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You may have to repeat yourself more frequently or vary the volume of your voice. It may also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. This type of patience can be challenging, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

Hearing assessments are typically non-invasive and quite simple. Usually, you will simply put on a set of headphones and listen for particular tones. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be an important step to more effectively managing symptoms and relationships.

Take the hearing loss associated 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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