Love and Hearing Loss: Communication Strategies for Couples

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect many aspects of your day-to-day life. Untreated hearing loss, for instance, can impact your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. Communication can become tense for couples who are coping with hearing loss. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent quarrels. If neglected, in other words, hearing loss can have a substantially negative effect on your relationship.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? In part, these tribulations arise because the individuals aren’t aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss usually is, after all, a gradually advancing condition. Communication might be strained because of hearing loss and you and your partner may not even be aware it’s the root of the issue. Practical solutions may be difficult to find as both partners feel more and more 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?

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

  • Couples often confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs when someone hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very clearly, but somehow does not hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. Sometimes, selective hearing is absolutely unintended, and in others, it can be a conscious choice. Spouses will frequently begin 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”.
  • Feeling ignored: When someone doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel dismissed. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can often take place. Feeling like your partner is not paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the cornerstone of intimacy. And when that communication becomes harder, all parties might feel more separated from one another. As a result, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, ultimately causing more frustration and tension.
  • Arguments: It isn’t uncommon for arguments to occur in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more frustrating. For some couples, arguments will break out more often due to an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss associated behavioral changes, like requiring things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension

In many cases, this friction begins to occur before any actual diagnosis of hearing loss. If someone doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the root of the issue, or if they are dismissing their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be worse.

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

How do you live with somebody who has hearing loss when hearing loss can cause so much conflict? This will only be a problem for couples who aren’t willing to formulate new communication strategies. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • As much as you can, try to look directly into the face of the person you’re speaking with: Communicating face-to-face can furnish a wealth of visual clues for someone with hearing loss. You will be providing your partner with body language and facial cues. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to maintain concentration. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have an easier time understanding what you mean.
  • Utilize different words when you repeat yourself: When your partner doesn’t understand what you said, you will normally try repeating yourself. But try changing the words you use instead of using the same words. Hearing loss can affect 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 strengthen your message.
  • Patience: When you recognize that your partner has hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You may have to repeat yourself more often or raise the volume of your voice. You might also have to speak more slowly. The effectiveness of your communication can be substantially improved by exercising this kind of patience.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be managed with our help. Many areas of stress will fade away and communication will be more successful when hearing loss is well managed. In addition, managing 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 could also fail to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better regulate any of these potential problems.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can consist of things like taking over tasks that cause substantial anxiety (such as going to the grocery store or making phone calls). You can also ask your partner’s hearing specialist if there are ways you can help them get accustomed to their hearing aids.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

A hearing examination is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. Usually, you will simply put on a pair of headphones and listen for particular tones. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

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

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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