Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many areas of your day-to-day life. Your hobbies, your professional life, and even your love life can be impacted by hearing loss, for instance. Communication can become tense for couples who are coping with hearing loss. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent quarrels. In other words, left uncontrolled, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in significant ways.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? In part, these tribulations arise because the parties are not aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss typically is, after all, a gradually developing condition. As a result, you (and your partner) might not notice that hearing loss is the underlying cause of your communication issues. This can lead to both partners feeling alienated and can make it hard to find practical solutions.

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

Can relationships be affected by hearing loss?

It’s really easy to overlook hearing loss when it first presents. This can lead to substantial misunderstandings between couples. As a result, there are a few common issues that develop:

  • Couples often confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs when someone hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very distinctly, but somehow does not hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. In some instances, selective hearing is a conscious behavior, in other cases, it’s quite unintended. One of the most frequent effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they may begin to miss words or certain phrases will seem garbled. This can often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” resulting in resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • 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 often the result.
  • Arguments: It isn’t uncommon for arguments to take place in a relationship, at least, sometimes. But arguments will be even more frustrating when one or both partners are dealing with hearing loss. Arguments can become more frequent too. For others, an increase in arguments could be a result of changes in behavior (for instance, boosting the volume on the television to painful volumes).
  • Feeling ignored: When somebody 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 happen. The long-term health of your relationship can be seriously put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being dismissed.

These issues will frequently begin before anyone is diagnosed with hearing loss. Feelings of bitterness may be worse when parties don’t suspect hearing loss is the root problem (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on disregarding their symptoms).

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

How do you live with somebody who has hearing loss when hearing loss can create so much conflict? For couples who are willing to formulate new communication strategies, this typically isn’t a problem. Here are some of those strategies:

  • Patience: This is especially relevant when you know that your partner is struggling with hearing loss. You may have to change the way you talk, like raising your volume for instance. You may also have to speak more slowly. The effectiveness of your communication can be substantially improved by practicing this kind of patience.
  • As much as possible, try to look right into the face of the person you’re talking with: Communicating face-to-face can supply a wealth of visual cues for somebody with hearing loss. Your partner will be able to read facial cues and body language. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to maintain concentration. This supplies your partner with more information to process, and that typically makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • 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 managed. 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 hard to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help controlling any of these potential issues by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • When you repeat what you said, try using different words: When your partner doesn’t understand what you said, you will normally try repeating yourself. But try switching the words you use instead of using the same words. Hearing loss can impact some frequencies of speech more than others, which means certain words might be harder to understand (while others are easier). Your message can be reinforced by changing the words you use.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Maybe you could do things like taking over the grocery shopping or other chores that cause your partner stress. You can also ask your partner’s hearing specialist if there are ways you can help them get used to their hearing aids.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

A hearing exam is a fairly simple, non-invasive experience. In most cases, individuals who are tested will do little more than wear specialized headphones and raise their hand when they hear a sound. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be a significant 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 assessment.

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