Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many aspects of your day-to-day life can be affected by Hearing Loss. Neglected hearing loss, for instance, can impact your professional life, your favorite pastimes, 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. In other words, left uncontrolled, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in significant ways.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? In part, these hardships occur because the individuals are not aware of the hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is typically a slow-moving and hard to detect condition. As a result, you (and your partner) might not notice that hearing loss is the base cause of your communication issues. Practical solutions may be difficult to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

Often, a diagnosis of hearing loss coupled with practical strategies from a hearing specialist can help couples begin communicating again, and improve their relationships.

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

When hearing loss is in the early phases, it can be hard to identify. This can lead to substantial misunderstandings between couples. The following common issues can develop as a result:

  • Feeling ignored: When someone 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 frequently take place. Feeling as if your partner isn’t paying attention to you is not good for long-term relationship health.
  • Arguments: Arguments are rather common in almost all relationships. But arguments will be even more aggravating when one or both partners have hearing loss. For some couples, arguments will erupt more frequently due to an increase in misunderstandings. For others, an increase in arguments could be a consequence of changes in behavior (for example, boosting the volume on the television to painful levels).
  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the foundation of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. Consequently, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, ultimately causing more frustration and tension.
  • Couples often mistake hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs when someone hears “we’re having brownies for dessert” very clearly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. In some cases, selective hearing is absolutely unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. Spouses will often start to miss certain 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,” leading to resentment and tension in the relationship.

Often, this friction begins to happen before any actual diagnosis of hearing loss. Feelings of bitterness might be worse when parties don’t suspect hearing loss is the core issue (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 lead to 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 develop new communication strategies. Here are some of those strategies:

  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be controlled with our help. Many areas of stress 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 might also be difficult to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better manage any of these potential problems.
  • Patience: This is especially true when you know that your partner is dealing with hearing loss. You might have to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for example. You might also have to speak more slowly. This kind of patience can be a challenge, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Try to talk face-to-face as frequently as possible: For someone who has hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give lots of visual cues. Your partner will be able to read facial cues and body language. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to maintain concentration. This supplies your partner with more information to process, and that usually makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Maybe you could do things like taking over trips to the grocery store or other tasks that cause your partner stress. There also may be ways you can help your partner get used to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.
  • When you repeat what you said, try using different words: Normally, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner fails to hear you. But instead of using the same words again and again, try changing things up. Hearing loss can impact some frequencies of speech more than others, which means certain words may be harder to understand (while others are easier). Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing examination is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. In most instances, those who undergo tests will do little more than wear specialized headphones and raise their hand when they hear a tone. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

Encouraging your partner to get in touch with us can help ensure 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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