Cropped shot of two unrecognizable people holding hands discussing hearing loss with compassion.

It’s something lots of individuals cope with, but few want to talk about – hearing loss and its impact on personal relationships. Both partners can feel frustrated by the misunderstandings that are created by hearing loss.
This is the perfect time for you to show your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. A great way to do this is to talk to your loved one about your hearing loss.

Having “the talk”

Studies have found that a person with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, and that includes Alzheimer’s disease. When the region of your brain used for hearing becomes less engaged, it can start a cascade effect that can affect your entire brain. This is called brain atrophy by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.

Depression numbers amongst individuals with hearing loss are almost double that of a person who has healthy hearing. Studies have shown that as a person’s hearing loss progresses, they often become stressed and agitated. The person may start to separate themselves from friends and family. As they sink deeper into sadness, people with hearing loss are likely to avoid engaging in the activities they once enjoyed.

Relationships between family, friends, and others then become tense. Communication issues need to be managed with patients and compassion.

Mystery solved

Your loved one might not be ready to tell you they are experiencing hearing loss. They may feel embarrassment and fear. Denial might have set in. You may need to do a bit of detective work to figure out when it’s time to have the talk.

Since you can’t hear what your partner or parent hears, you’ll need to rely on external cues, like:

  • Frequent misunderstandings
  • Watching television with the volume really high
  • Avoiding conversations
  • Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
  • Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
  • Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
  • Avoiding busy places
  • Not hearing significant sounds, such as the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name

Plan on having a heart-to-heart discussion with your loved one if you observe any of these symptoms.

What is the best way to talk about hearing loss?

This talk may not be an easy one to have. A loved one might become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the right way is so relevant. You may need to modify your language based on your unique relationship, but the strategies will be more or less the same.

  • Step 1: Tell them that you love them unconditionally and appreciate your relationship.
  • Step 2: You are concerned about their health. You’ve seen the research. You know that an increased risk of depression and dementia comes along with neglected hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
  • Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. An excessively loud TV could harm your hearing. Also, your relationship can be impacted, as studies have shown that excessively loud noise can cause anxiety. If you have an intruder in your house or you’ve taken a fall, your partner may not hear you calling for help. Emotion is a powerful way to connect with others. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than simply listing facts.
  • Step 4: Decide together to make an appointment to get a hearing assessment. Do it right away after making the decision. Don’t wait.
  • Step 5: Be ready for opposition. You could encounter these oppositions at any time in the process. This is a person you know well. What kind of objections will they have? Will it be lack of time, or money? Doesn’t notice a problem? They may feel that homemade remedies will be good enough. (You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.)

Be prepared with your responses. You may even rehearse them in the mirror. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should concentrate on your loved one’s worries.

Relationship growth

If your partner isn’t willing to discuss their hearing loss, it can be difficult. Openly discussing the effect of hearing loss on your relationship can help to establish a plan to deal with any communication challenges and ensure that both partners are heard and understood. By having this conversation, you’ll grow closer and get your partner the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. And relationships are, after all, about growing together.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment


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.

Call or text for a no-obligation evaluation.

Schedule Now

Call us today.

Schedule Now