Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many aspects of your day-to-day life. Your pastimes, your professional life, and even your love life can be affected by hearing loss, for example. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become tense. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent arguments. In other words, left uncontrolled, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in significant ways.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? These challenges happen, in part, because individuals are often unaware that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is usually a slow-moving and hard to recognize condition. Communication might be tense because of hearing loss and you and your partner may not even be aware it’s the root of the issue. This can result in both partners feeling alienated and can make it difficult to find practical solutions.

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

Can relationships be impacted by hearing loss?

It’s really easy to disregard hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. Couples can have considerable misunderstandings as a result of this. As a result, there are a few common issues that develop:

  • Arguments: It isn’t uncommon for arguments to happen in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But arguments will be even more frustrating when one or both partners have hearing loss. For some couples, arguments will break out more often because of an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, like needing things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the basis of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties may feel more separated from each other. Consequently, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, causing more frustration and tension.
  • Couples frequently mistake hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when somebody effortlessly hears something like “let’s go get some ice cream”, but somehow misses something like “let’s do some spring cleaning”. In some instances, selective hearing is a conscious action, in other cases, it’s quite unintended. Spouses will frequently begin to miss certain words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound garbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” leading to resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Feeling ignored: When someone doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel dismissed. This can frequently happen when one partner is experiencing hearing loss and isn’t aware of it. The long-term health of your relationship can be severely put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being ignored.

These issues will often begin before anybody is diagnosed with hearing loss. Feelings of bitterness might be worse when parties don’t suspect hearing loss is the core issue (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on dismissing 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? This will only be an issue 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 understand what you said, you will normally try repeating yourself. But rather than using the same words over and over again, try changing things up. Some words might be harder to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss impact most. Your message can be strengthened by changing the words you use.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can consist of things like taking over chores that cause significant anxiety (such as going to the grocery store 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.
  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner is dealing with hearing loss, patience is especially important. You may have to change the way you talk, like raising your volume for instance. It may also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. This kind of patience can be challenging, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Try to talk face-to-face as frequently as possible: For someone who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give an abundance 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 preserve concentration. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a simpler time understanding what you mean.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner regulate their hearing loss. When hearing loss is well-managed, communication is generally more successful (and many other areas of tension may recede too). 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. Your partner can get assistance managing any of these potential issues by scheduling an appointment with us.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

Hearing tests are generally non-invasive and really simple. Typically, you will simply put on a set of headphones and listen for specific 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 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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