Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Tips for Stronger Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many facets of your daily life can be impacted by Hearing Loss. Neglected 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. Animosity can develop from the increased stress and more frequent arguments. If untreated, in other words, hearing loss can have a substantially negative impact on your relationship.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? In part, these tribulations happen because the individuals aren’t aware of the 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 detect that hearing loss is the underlying cause of your communication problems. Workable solutions may be difficult to find as both partners feel increasingly alienated.

Frequently, a diagnosis of hearing loss coupled with helpful strategies from a hearing specialist can help couples start communicating again, and better their relationships.

Can relationships be impacted by hearing loss?

It’s really easy to disregard hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. Couples can have considerable misunderstandings because of this. Consequently, there are some common issues that develop:

  • Couples often confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when somebody hears “we’re having brownies for dessert” very distinctly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the trash before we eat”. Sometimes, selective hearing is absolutely unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious choice. One of the most common effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they may begin to miss words or specific phrases will seem garbled. This can sometimes lead to tension and resentment because one spouse confuses this for “selective hearing”.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the foundation of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties might feel more separated from one another. Increased tension and frustration are often the consequence.
  • Arguments: It’s not abnormal for arguments to happen in a relationship, at least, sometimes. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more aggravating. For some couples, arguments will break out more frequently due to an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, like needing things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Feeling ignored: You would most likely feel like you’re being disregarded if you addressed somebody and they didn’t respond. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is unaware of it, this can frequently happen. The long-term health of your relationship can be significantly put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being disregarded.

These problems will frequently begin before anybody is diagnosed with hearing loss. Feelings of bitterness might be worse when parties don’t suspect hearing loss is the core problem (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on disregarding their symptoms).

Tips for living with someone who is dealing with hearing loss

How do you live with a person who is dealing with hearing loss when hearing loss can cause so much conflict? For couples who are willing to establish new communication strategies, this usually is not a problem. Here are some of those strategies:

  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Perhaps you could do things like taking over trips to the grocery store or other chores that cause your partner anxiety. You can also ask your partner’s hearing specialist if there are ways you can help them get used to their hearing aids.
  • Patience: When you recognize that your partner is dealing with hearing loss, patience is especially important. You might have to change the way you talk, like raising your volume for instance. It may also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. This type of patience can be challenging, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • 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 cues for someone with hearing loss. You will be supplying your partner with body language and facial cues. It’s also easier to preserve concentration and eye contact. 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 hear what you said, you will normally try repeating yourself. But rather than using the same words over and over again, try changing things up. Some words may be more difficult to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss impact most. Changing your word choice can help strengthen your message.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be controlled with our help. When hearing loss is well-managed, communication is usually more effective (and many other areas of stress may go away also). Safety is also a concern 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 regulate any of these potential problems.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

A hearing exam is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. Usually, you will simply put on a pair of headphones and listen for specific 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 guarantee 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.