Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many areas of your day-to-day life. Neglected hearing loss, for instance, can impact your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. Communication can become tense for couples who are dealing with hearing loss. This can cause increased stress, more disputes, and even the development of animosity. If untreated, in other words, hearing loss can have a significantly negative impact on your relationship.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? These difficulties arise, in part, because people are often oblivious that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is typically a slow-moving and hard to recognize condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) might not detect that hearing loss is the root cause of your communication problems. This can result in both partners feeling alienated and can make it hard to find workable solutions.

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

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

It’s really easy to disregard hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. This can result in substantial misunderstandings between couples. The following common issues can develop because of this:

  • Feeling ignored: When someone doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel disregarded. This can often happen when one partner is experiencing hearing loss and isn’t aware of it. Feeling like your partner isn’t paying attention to you is not good for long-term relationship health.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the basis of intimacy. And when that communication becomes harder, all parties may feel more separated from each other. As a result, hearing loss might introduce friction throughout the relationship, leading to more frustration and tension.
  • Arguments: It’s not abnormal for arguments to occur in a relationship, at least, sometimes. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become 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
  • Couples often mistake hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens 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 circumstances, selective hearing is a conscious action, in other cases, it’s quite unintentional. Spouses will often 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 mistakes this for “selective hearing”.

In many cases, this friction starts to happen before any actual diagnosis of hearing loss. Feelings of bitterness might 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).

Tips for living with someone who is dealing with hearing loss

If hearing loss can create so much conflict in a relationship, how can you live with someone who is dealing with hearing loss? This will only be an issue for couples who aren’t willing to establish new communication strategies. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Try to talk face-to-face as frequently as possible: Communicating face-to-face can supply a wealth of visual clues for someone with hearing loss. You will be supplying your partner with body language and facial cues. It’s also easier to maintain concentration and eye contact. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a simpler time understanding what you mean.
  • 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. Safety is also an issue with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. It may also be hard to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help managing any of these potential issues by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner has hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You might have to repeat yourself more frequently or vary the volume of your voice. It might also be necessary to speak in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be substantially improved by practicing this type of patience.
  • Make use of different words when you repeat yourself: When your partner doesn’t understand what you said, you will normally try repeating yourself. But try switching the words you use rather than using the same words. Certain words might be harder to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss effects most. Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.
  • 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 may be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing test is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. In most cases, 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 an essential step to more successfully managing symptoms and relationships.

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

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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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