Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many facets of your daily life can be affected by Hearing Loss. Your hobbies, your professional life, and even your love life can be affected by hearing loss, for instance. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become strained. This can cause increased tension, more disputes, and even the development of animosity. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively impact your relationship in substantial ways.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? These difficulties arise, in part, because people are usually 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 problem. Workable solutions may be difficult to find as both partners feel increasingly alienated.

Frequently, a diagnosis of hearing loss along with practical strategies from a hearing specialist can help couples start communicating again, and better their relationships.

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

When hearing loss is in the early stages, it’s difficult to detect. Couples can have considerable misunderstandings as a result of this. Consequently, there are a few common problems that develop:

  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the foundation of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. Increased tension and frustration are frequently the result.
  • It isn’t unusual 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. Spouses will often start to miss certain words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound garbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can sometimes lead to tension and resentment because one spouse confuses this for “selective hearing”.
  • Arguments: Arguments are fairly common in almost all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more frustrating. Arguments can happen more often too. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, such as needing volumes to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Feeling ignored: When someone doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel ignored. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is unaware of it, this can frequently occur. The long-term health of your relationship can be significantly put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being dismissed.

Often, this friction begins to occur before any formal diagnosis of hearing loss. If somebody doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the root of the problem, or if they are ignoring 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 has hearing loss? This will only be an issue for couples who aren’t willing to establish new communication strategies. Here are some of those strategies:

  • 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 switching the words you use rather than using the same words. Hearing loss can impact some frequencies of speech more than others, which means some words may be more difficult to understand (while others are easier). Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.
  • As much as possible, try to look directly into the face of the individual you’re speaking with: Communicating face-to-face can furnish a wealth of visual clues for somebody with hearing loss. You will be providing your partner with body language and facial cues. It’s also easier to preserve concentration and eye contact. This provides your partner with more information to process, and that typically makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can include things like taking over tasks 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 used to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be managed with our help. Many areas of tension will fade away and communication will be more successful when hearing loss is well controlled. Additionally, managing 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 might also fail to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help managing any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Patience: This is especially true when you know that your partner is dealing with hearing loss. You may have to repeat yourself more often or raise the volume of your voice. You may also have to speak more slowly. This kind of patience can be a challenge, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

Hearing assessments are generally non-invasive and really simple. In most cases, individuals who undergo tests will do little more than put on specialized headphones and raise their hand when they hear a sound. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be an essential step to more effectively managing symptoms and relationships.

Take the hearing loss related tension out of your relationship by encouraging your partner to come see us for a hearing examination.

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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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