Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many areas of your day-to-day life. Untreated hearing loss, for example, can affect your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become strained. This can cause increased stress, more quarrels, and even the development of animosity. If neglected, in other words, hearing loss can have a substantially negative effect on your relationship.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? These difficulties arise, in part, because individuals are often oblivious that they even have hearing loss. Hearing loss typically is, after all, a slowly advancing condition. Communication might be tense because of hearing loss and you and your partner might not even be aware it’s the root of the issue. Practical solutions may 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 effective solutions from us.

Can relationships be impacted by hearing loss?

It’s very easy to overlook hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. This can lead to significant misunderstandings between couples. The following common problems can develop because of this:

  • Arguments: It isn’t abnormal for arguments to occur in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But arguments will be even more frustrating when one or both partners have hearing loss. Arguments can happen more often too. For others, an increase in arguments could be a consequence of changes in behavior (for example, increasing the volume on the television to painful volumes).
  • Couples often confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when somebody hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very clearly, but somehow does not hear “we need to take out the trash before we eat”. In some cases, selective hearing is a conscious behavior, in other cases, it’s quite unintentional. 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 sometimes lead to tension and resentment because one spouse mistakes this for “selective hearing”.
  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the cornerstone of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties might feel more distant from each other. As a result, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, leading to more frustration and tension.
  • 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.

In many cases, this friction starts to occur before any actual diagnosis of hearing loss. If somebody doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the root of the issue, or if they are dismissing their symptoms, feelings of resentment could get worse.

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

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

  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can consist of things like taking over chores that cause significant anxiety (like going shopping or making phone calls). There also may be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.
  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of different words: When your partner doesn’t understand what you said, you will usually try repeating yourself. But instead of using the same words again and again, try to change things up. Certain words may be harder to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss effects most. Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner regulate their hearing loss. When hearing loss is well-managed, communication is typically more effective (and many other areas of stress may recede as well). Safety is also an issue with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. You might also fail to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better manage any of these potential concerns.
  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner has hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You may have to repeat yourself more frequently or vary the volume of your voice. It might also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. This kind of patience can be challenging, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Try to communicate face-to-face as often as you can: For somebody who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give lots of visual cues. You will be providing your partner with body language and facial cues. It’s also easier to maintain concentration and eye contact. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a simpler time understanding what you mean.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

A hearing test is a fairly 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 get in touch with us can help guarantee 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.