Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect many areas of your daily life. Untreated hearing loss, for example, can affect your professional life, your favorite pastimes, and even your relationships. Communication can become tense for couples who are dealing with hearing loss. Animosity can develop from the increased stress and more frequent arguments. If untreated, in other words, hearing loss can have a substantially negative effect on your relationship.

So, how does hearing loss impact relationships? These difficulties arise, in part, because people are often oblivious that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is typically a slow-moving and hard to notice condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) might not detect that hearing loss is the root cause of your communication issues. Practical solutions might be difficult to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

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

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

When hearing loss is in the early stages, it’s difficult to detect. Couples can have significant misunderstandings because of this. As a result, there are a few common problems that develop:

  • Feeling ignored: When somebody doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel dismissed. This can often happen when one partner is suffering from hearing loss and isn’t aware of it. The long-term health of your relationship can be significantly put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being ignored.
  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the cornerstone of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. Increased tension and frustration are often the result.
  • Couples frequently confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens 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 cases, selective hearing is a conscious action, in other instances, it’s quite unintended. Spouses will often begin to miss particular words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound garbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” leading to resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Arguments: Arguments are fairly common in almost all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more frustrating. For some couples, arguments will erupt more often due to an increase in misunderstandings. For others, an increase in arguments could be a result of changes in behavior (for instance, increasing the volume on the television to painful levels).

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

Advice for living with someone who is dealing with hearing loss

How do you live with somebody who is dealing with hearing loss when hearing loss can result in so much conflict? This will only be a problem for couples who aren’t willing to establish new communication strategies. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • 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. There also may be ways you can help your partner get used to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.
  • As much as possible, try to look right into the face of the individual you’re speaking with: For somebody who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give lots of visual cues. You will be supplying your partner with body language and facial cues. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to maintain concentration. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a less difficult time understanding what you mean.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be managed with our help. Many areas of tension will fade away and communication will be more successful when hearing loss is well managed. In addition, treating hearing loss is a safety issue: hearing loss can impact your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. You could also fail to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get assistance managing any of these potential issues by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • When you repeat what you said, try using different words: Normally, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But try switching the words you use instead of using the same words. Certain words may be harder to hear than others depending on what frequencies your hearing loss impact most. Your message can be reinforced by changing the words you utilize.
  • Patience: When you recognize that your partner has hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You may need to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for instance. It may also be necessary to speak in a slower cadence. This type of patience can be a challenge, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing examination is a fairly simple, non-invasive experience. Usually, you will simply put on a set of headphones and listen for specific tones. You will be better able to manage your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

Take the hearing loss associated tension out of your relationship by encouraging your partner to come see us for a hearing examination.

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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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