Love and Hearing Loss - Couples Strategies for Stronger Communication

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Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many aspects of your daily life can be impacted by Hearing Loss. Your hobbies, your professional life, and even your love life can be impacted by hearing loss, for example. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become strained. This can cause increased stress, more disputes, and even the growth of animosity. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively impact your relationship in significant ways.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? In part, these difficulties occur because the parties are not aware of the hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is normally 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 issue. Workable solutions might be hard to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

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

Can relationships be impacted by hearing loss?

It’s really easy to disregard hearing loss when it first presents. Couples can have substantial misunderstandings because of this. The following common problems can develop as a result:

  • Arguments: It’s not uncommon for arguments to take place in a relationship, at least, sometimes. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more aggravating. For some couples, arguments will ignite more frequently because of an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, such as requiring volumes to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • It isn’t 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 clearly, but somehow does not hear “we need to take out the trash before we eat”. In some cases, selective hearing is totally unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious choice. One of the most frequent effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they may start to miss words or specific phrases will seem garbled. This can frequently be mistaken for “selective hearing,” resulting in resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Feeling ignored: You would most likely feel like you’re being dismissed if you addressed somebody and they didn’t respond. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can often occur. The long-term health of your relationship can be significantly put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being ignored.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the basis of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. Increased tension and frustration are frequently the consequence.

These problems will often start before anyone is diagnosed with hearing loss. If someone doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the core of the problem, or if they are dismissing their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be 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? This will only be a problem for couples who aren’t willing to establish new communication strategies. Here are a few of those strategies:

  • Patience: This is particularly relevant when you know that your partner is struggling with hearing loss. You may have to repeat yourself more frequently or vary the volume of your voice. You might also have to talk more slowly. The effectiveness of your communication can be substantially improved by practicing this kind of patience.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Perhaps 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.
  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of different words: When your partner doesn’t hear what you said, you will typically try repeating yourself. But try changing the words you use instead of using the same words. Certain words might be more difficult to hear than others depending on what frequencies your hearing loss effects most. Your message can be reinforced by changing the words you use.
  • As much as you can, try to look right into the face of the person you’re speaking with: Communicating face-to-face can provide a wealth of visual clues for someone with hearing loss. You will be supplying your partner with body language and facial cues. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to preserve concentration. This supplies your partner with more information to process, and that usually makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner control their hearing loss. Many areas of tension will fade away and communication will be more successful when hearing loss is well managed. 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. It might also be hard to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better regulate any of these potential concerns.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

Hearing assessments are typically non-invasive and quite simple. Typically, you will simply put on a set of headphones and listen for particular tones. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

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

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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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