Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many facets of your day-to-day life can be affected by Hearing Loss. Untreated hearing loss, for example, can impact your professional life, your favorite pastimes, and even your relationships. For couples who are coping with hearing loss, communication can become strained. This can cause increased tension, more disputes, and even the development of animosity. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively impact your relationship in significant ways.

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? These challenges arise, in part, because individuals are often oblivious that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is usually a slow-moving and difficult to recognize condition. As a result, you (and your partner) may 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 workable solutions.

Frequently, a diagnosis of hearing loss along with practical strategies from a hearing specialist can help couples begin communicating again, and better their relationships.

Can relationships be impacted by hearing loss?

It’s really easy to overlook hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. Couples can have substantial misunderstandings because of this. The following common problems can develop because of this:

  • Intimacy may suffer: In many relationships, communication is the foundation of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties might feel more distant from each other. Increased tension and frustration are often the consequence.
  • Arguments: It’s not abnormal for arguments to occur in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more frustrating. For some couples, arguments will ignite more often due to an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss associated behavioral changes, such as needing things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • It’s not uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when somebody 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 circumstances, selective hearing is a conscious action, in other instances, it’s quite unintentional. One of the most common effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they might begin to miss words or certain phrases will seem garbled. This can often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” causing resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Feeling ignored: You would most likely feel like you’re being dismissed if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can often happen. The long-term health of your relationship can be seriously put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being ignored.

Often, this friction begins to happen before any formal diagnosis of hearing loss. Feelings of bitterness might be worse when parties don’t know hearing loss is the root issue (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on disregarding their symptoms).

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

If hearing loss can lead to so much conflict in a relationship, how do you live with someone who is dealing with hearing loss? This will only be an issue for couples who aren’t willing to formulate new communication strategies. Here are a few of those strategies:

  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can include things like taking over chores that cause significant anxiety (such as going shopping or making phone calls). There also may be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.
  • Try to talk face-to-face as often as possible: Communicating face-to-face can furnish a wealth of visual cues for somebody with hearing loss. Your partner will be able to make use of facial cues and body language. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to preserve concentration. This provides your partner with more information to process, and that typically makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Patience: This is particularly true when you recognize that your partner is coping with hearing loss. You might need to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for instance. It might also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be significantly improved by exercising this type of patience.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner control their hearing loss. When hearing loss is well-managed, communication is generally more effective (and many other areas of tension may go away as well). Safety is also a concern with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. You could also fail to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better regulate any of these potential problems.
  • Utilize different words when you repeat yourself: When your partner doesn’t hear what you said, you will usually try repeating yourself. But try changing the words you use rather than using the same words. Some 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.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

Hearing examinations are generally non-invasive and really simple. In most circumstances, individuals who undergo tests will do little more than wear specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a sound. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

Take the hearing loss related 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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