Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Strategies for Better Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many areas of your day-to-day life. Untreated hearing loss, for example, can affect your professional life, your favorite pastimes, and even your relationships. Communication can become tense for couples who are dealing with hearing loss. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent quarrels. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively impact your relationship in substantial ways.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? In part, these tribulations occur because the individuals aren’t aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss usually is, after all, a gradually developing condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) might not notice that hearing loss is the base cause of your communication issues. Practical solutions might be difficult to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

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

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

It’s very easy to disregard hearing loss when it first presents. Couples can have considerable misunderstandings as a result of this. As a result, there are a few common problems that develop:

  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the foundation of intimacy. And when that communication becomes harder, all parties might feel more distant from each other. As a result, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, causing more frustration and tension.
  • It’s not uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when someone easily hears something like “let’s go get some ice cream”, but somehow misses something like “let’s do some spring cleaning”. In some cases, selective hearing is totally unintended, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. One of the most common effects of hearing loss on a partner is that they may start to miss words or specific phrases will seem garbled. This can sometimes result in tension and resentment because one spouse confuses this for “selective hearing”.
  • Arguments: It isn’t abnormal for arguments to take place in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But arguments will be even more frustrating when one or both partners are dealing with hearing loss. For some couples, arguments will ignite more frequently because of an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss associated behavioral changes, like requiring volumes to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Feeling ignored: You would most likely feel like you’re being disregarded if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. This can frequently happen when one partner is suffering from hearing loss and doesn’t know it. The long-term health of your relationship can be significantly put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being disregarded.

In many cases, this friction begins to happen before any actual diagnosis of hearing loss. If somebody doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the core of the issue, or if they are ignoring their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be worse.

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

How do you live with a person who has hearing loss when hearing loss can cause so much conflict? For couples who are willing to develop new communication techniques, this usually is not an issue. Here are a few of those strategies:

  • When you repeat what you said, try using different words: When your partner doesn’t hear what you said, you will normally try repeating yourself. But instead of using the same words again and again, try to change things up. Certain words might be harder to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss impact most. Changing your word choice can help strengthen your message.
  • As much as you can, try to look directly into the face of the person you’re speaking with: For somebody who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give an abundance of visual cues. You will be supplying your partner with body language and facial cues. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to maintain concentration. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a less difficult time understanding what you mean.
  • Patience: This is particularly relevant when you recognize that your partner is coping with hearing loss. You may have to repeat yourself more frequently or raise the volume of your voice. You might also have to speak more slowly. This type of patience can be a challenge, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Perhaps you could do things like taking over trips to the grocery store or other tasks that cause your partner stress. There also might be ways you can help your partner get used to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.
  • 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 usually more effective (and many other areas of tension may recede too). In addition, treating 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. Your partner can get help managing any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

Hearing tests are generally non-invasive and really simple. In most circumstances, people who undergo tests will do little more than wear specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a sound. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be an essential step to more successfully managing symptoms and relationships.

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

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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