Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Strategies for Better Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many aspects of your daily life can be affected by Hearing Loss. Your hobbies, your professional life, and even your love life can be affected by hearing loss, for instance. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become tense. Animosity can develop from the increased stress and more frequent quarrels. If ignored, in other words, hearing loss can have a substantially negative effect on your relationship.

So, how does hearing loss impact relationships? In part, these hardships happen because the individuals aren’t aware of the hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is typically a slow-moving and hard to notice 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. This can result in both partners feeling alienated and can make it difficult to find workable solutions.

Often, 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 affected by hearing loss?

It’s really easy to overlook hearing loss when it first presents. This can lead to substantial misunderstandings between couples. The following common issues can develop because of this:

  • It isn’t uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs when someone hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very clearly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. In some circumstances, selective hearing is a conscious behavior, in other instances, it’s quite unintentional. Spouses will frequently start 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 disregarded. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can often occur. Feeling as if your partner isn’t paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the foundation of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. Increased tension and frustration are frequently the result.
  • Arguments: It isn’t unusual for arguments to occur in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more frustrating. Arguments can become more frequent too. For others, an increase in arguments could be a result of changes in behavior (for example, boosting the volume on the television to painful levels).

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 problem, or if they are ignoring their symptoms, feelings of resentment could get worse.

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

How do you live with somebody who is dealing with hearing loss when hearing loss can create so much conflict? This will only be an issue for couples who aren’t willing to develop new communication strategies. Here are some of those strategies:

  • As much as you can, try to look right into the face of the individual you’re talking with: Communicating face-to-face can provide a wealth of visual clues for somebody with hearing loss. Your partner will be able to make use of facial cues and body language. It’s also easier to maintain concentration and eye contact. This supplies your partner with more information to process, and that usually makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Patience: When you recognize that your partner is dealing with hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You may have to repeat yourself more frequently or raise the volume of your voice. It may also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be substantially improved by practicing 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. When hearing loss is under control, communication is generally more effective (and many other areas of stress may go away also). Additionally, managing hearing loss is a safety concern: hearing loss can effect your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. It may also be difficult to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get assistance managing any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • When you repeat what you said, try utilizing different words: Usually, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But instead of using the same words over and over again, try changing things up. Some words might be harder to hear than others depending on what frequencies your hearing loss impact most. Your message can be strengthened by changing the words you utilize.
  • 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 stress. You can also ask your partner’s hearing specialist if there are ways you can help them get accustomed to their hearing aids.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing test is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. In most circumstances, individuals who are tested 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 important step to more effectively managing symptoms and relationships.

Encouraging your partner to get in touch with us can help guarantee that hearing loss doesn’t undermine your happiness or your partnership.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

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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