Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

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

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? These challenges occur, in part, because individuals are often oblivious that they even have hearing loss. Hearing loss typically is, after all, a gradually developing condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) may not detect that hearing loss is the underlying cause of your communication issues. Practical solutions might be hard to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

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

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

When hearing loss is in the early phases, it can be hard to identify. Couples can have significant misunderstandings as a result of this. The following common problems can develop as a result:

  • Feeling ignored: When somebody doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel disregarded. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is unaware of it, this can often occur. Feeling like your partner is not paying attention to you is not good for long-term relationship health.
  • It’s not unusual for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs when somebody hears “we’re having brownies for dessert” very distinctly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. In some cases, selective hearing is totally unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. Spouses will frequently start to miss particular words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound jumbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can frequently be mistaken for “selective hearing,” causing resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Arguments: It isn’t abnormal for arguments to occur in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more aggravating. For some couples, arguments will ignite more frequently because of an increase in misunderstandings. For others, an increase in arguments could be a consequence of changes in behavior (for example, increasing the volume on the television to painful volumes).
  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the cornerstone of intimacy. And when that communication becomes harder, all parties may feel more separated from one another. As a result, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, causing more frustration and tension.

In many cases, this friction starts to occur before any formal diagnosis of hearing loss. If someone 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.

Tips for living with someone who is dealing with hearing loss

If hearing loss can lead to so much conflict in a relationship, how do you live with someone who has hearing loss? For couples who are willing to establish new communication strategies, this typically is not an issue. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • As much as possible, try to look right into the face of the person you’re speaking with: For someone who has hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give an abundance of visual cues. You will be providing your partner with body language and facial cues. It’s also easier to maintain concentration and eye contact. This provides your partner with more information to process, and that usually makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Utilize different words when you repeat yourself: Typically, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But instead of using the same words over and over again, try to change things up. Hearing loss can impact some frequencies of speech more than others, which means some words may be harder to understand (while others are easier). Your message can be strengthened by changing the words you use.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be controlled with our help. Many areas of tension will fade away and communication will be more successful when hearing loss is well managed. Additionally, treating hearing loss is a safety issue: 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. We can help your partner better control any of these potential concerns.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Perhaps you could do things like taking over the grocery shopping or other tasks that cause your partner anxiety. There also might be ways you can help your partner get used to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.
  • Patience: When you recognize that your partner is dealing with hearing loss, patience is especially important. You may have to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for instance. It might also be necessary to speak in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be dramatically improved by exercising this kind of patience.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

Hearing tests are generally non-invasive and really simple. In most instances, those who undergo tests will do little more than wear specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a tone. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be a significant step to more successfully managing symptoms and relationships.

Encouraging your partner to get in touch with us can help guarantee that hearing loss doesn’t sabotage your happiness or your partnership.

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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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