Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Tips for Better Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect many areas of your daily life. Neglected hearing loss, for instance, can affect your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. Communication can become strained for couples who are dealing with hearing loss. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent arguments. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in substantial ways.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? In part, these tribulations occur because the individuals are not aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss usually is, after all, a gradually developing condition. Communication might be tense because of hearing loss and you and your partner may not even be aware it’s the root of the problem. Workable solutions might be difficult to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

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

Can hearing loss affect relationships?

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

  • Arguments: It’s not uncommon for arguments to happen in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But arguments will be even more frustrating when one or both partners are dealing with hearing loss. Arguments can happen more often too. Hearing loss associated behavioral changes, like requiring volumes to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the basis of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties may feel more separated from each other. Increased tension and frustration are frequently the consequence.
  • Feeling ignored: You would likely feel like you’re being dismissed if you addressed somebody and they didn’t respond. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can frequently happen. Feeling as if your partner isn’t paying attention to you is not good for long-term relationship health.
  • It’s not uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when someone easily hears something like “let’s go get some ice cream”, but somehow misses something like “let’s do some spring cleaning”. In some circumstances, selective hearing is a conscious behavior, in other instances, it’s quite unintended. One of the most common effects of hearing loss on a partner is that they may begin to miss words or certain phrases will seem garbled. This can sometimes lead to tension and resentment because one spouse mistakes this for “selective hearing”.

These issues will often start before anybody is diagnosed with hearing loss. Feelings of resentment might be worse when parties don’t suspect hearing loss is the core issue (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on dismissing their symptoms).

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

If hearing loss can cause 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 develop new communication strategies. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Patience: When you recognize that your partner is dealing with hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You might have to repeat yourself more often or raise the volume of your voice. You may also have to talk more slowly. This kind of patience can be a challenge, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Perhaps 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 accustomed to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.
  • Try to talk face-to-face as often as you can: 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.
  • Utilize different words when you repeat yourself: When your partner doesn’t understand what you said, you will usually try repeating yourself. But try changing the words you use rather than using the same words. Certain words may 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.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner manage their hearing loss. Many areas of tension will fade away and communication will be more successful when hearing loss is well managed. Additionally, treating 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 might also be hard to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help managing any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

A hearing test is a fairly simple, non-invasive experience. In most circumstances, those who are tested will do little more than wear specialized headphones and raise their hand when they hear a sound. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be an essential step to more successfully managing symptoms and relationships.

Encouraging your partner to touch base with us can help guarantee that hearing loss doesn’t undermine 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.