Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Tips for Better Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many aspects of your day-to-day life can be affected by Hearing Loss. Neglected hearing loss, for example, can affect your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. Communication can become tense for couples who are coping with hearing loss. Animosity can develop from the increased stress and more frequent arguments. If untreated, in other words, hearing loss can have a substantially negative effect on your relationship.

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? These difficulties arise, in part, because individuals are often unaware that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is normally a slow-moving and hard to recognize condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) might not notice that hearing loss is the root cause of your communication issues. Workable solutions may be difficult to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

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

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

It’s very easy to ignore hearing loss when it first presents. This can result in significant misunderstandings between couples. The following common problems can develop because of this:

  • Feeling ignored: When someone doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel disregarded. This can often happen when one partner is suffering from hearing loss and doesn’t know it. Feeling as if your partner isn’t paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • Couples frequently confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when someone effortlessly 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 a conscious action, in other cases, it’s quite unintended. Spouses will often begin to miss particular 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,” causing resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is usually the basis of intimacy. And when that communication becomes harder, all parties may feel more distant from one another. Increased tension and frustration are frequently the result.
  • Arguments: It’s not abnormal for arguments to happen in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more frustrating. Arguments can become more frequent too. Hearing loss associated behavioral changes, such as requiring things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension

These problems will frequently start before anybody is diagnosed with hearing loss. If somebody doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the core of the problem, or if they are dismissing their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be worse.

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

How do you live with somebody who is dealing with hearing loss when hearing loss can cause so much conflict? For couples who are willing to establish new communication strategies, this typically isn’t an issue. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Patience: When you recognize that your partner is dealing with hearing loss, patience is especially important. You may have to repeat yourself more frequently or vary the volume of your voice. You may also have to talk more slowly. This kind of patience can be a challenge, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Maybe you could do things like taking over trips to the grocery store or other chores that cause your partner stress. There also may be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.
  • As much as you can, try to look directly into the face of the person you’re speaking with: Communicating face-to-face can furnish a wealth of visual cues for somebody with hearing loss. Your partner will be able to make use of facial cues and body language. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to maintain concentration. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have an easier time understanding what you mean.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner control their hearing loss. Many areas of stress will fade away and communication will be more effective when hearing loss is well managed. Additionally, 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. We can help your partner better regulate any of these potential concerns.
  • When you repeat what you said, try utilizing different words: Typically, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner fails to hear you. But try changing the words you use rather than using the same words. Some words may be harder to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss effects most. Changing your word choice can help strengthen your message.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

Hearing examinations 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 manage your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

Encouraging your partner to get in touch with us can help ensure that hearing loss doesn’t sabotage 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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