Love and Hearing Loss: Communication Tips for Couples

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect many aspects of your day-to-day life. Neglected hearing loss, for instance, can affect your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become tense. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent arguments. If ignored, in other words, hearing loss can have a substantially negative impact on your relationship.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? In part, these tribulations arise because the parties aren’t aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss usually is, after all, a slowly developing condition. As a result, you (and your partner) may not detect that hearing loss is the root cause of your communication issues. This can lead to both partners feeling alienated and can make it difficult to find workable solutions.

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

Can hearing loss affect relationships?

It’s really easy to ignore hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. This can lead to substantial misunderstandings between couples. 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, sometimes. But arguments will be even more aggravating when one or both partners have hearing loss. For some couples, arguments will erupt more frequently because of an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, such as requiring things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Couples frequently mistake hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when somebody 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 a conscious behavior, in other instances, it’s quite unintentional. 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 often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” leading to 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 might feel more distant from one another. Increased tension and frustration are frequently the consequence.
  • Feeling ignored: You would probably feel like you’re being ignored if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. This can often 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.

These problems will often begin before anybody is diagnosed with hearing loss. If somebody doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the root of the problem, or if they are disregarding their symptoms, feelings of resentment could get worse.

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

If hearing loss can cause so much conflict in a relationship, how do you live with someone who is dealing with hearing loss? For couples who are willing to develop new communication techniques, this usually isn’t an issue. Here are a few of those strategies:

  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be managed with our help. When hearing loss is well-managed, communication is typically more successful (and many other areas of tension may go away as well). Safety is also an issue with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. It might also be difficult to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better control any of these potential concerns.
  • As much as possible, try to look directly into the face of the individual you’re talking with: For somebody who has hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give lots of visual cues. Your partner will be able to read facial cues and body language. It’s also easier to maintain concentration and eye contact. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a less difficult time understanding what you mean.
  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of 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 instead of using the same words. Hearing loss can affect some frequencies of speech more than others, which means certain words might be more difficult to understand (while others are easier). Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.
  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner has hearing loss, patience is especially important. You might have to repeat yourself more often or raise the volume of your voice. It might also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. This kind 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: 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 might be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

A hearing examination is a fairly simple, non-invasive experience. In most cases, those who undergo tests will do little more than put on specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a sound. 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 exam.

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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