Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Tips for Better Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many facets of your daily life can be affected 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 tense. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent arguments. If untreated, in other words, hearing loss can have a significantly negative impact on your relationship.

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? In part, these difficulties happen because the parties aren’t aware of the hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is typically a slow-moving and difficult to detect condition. As a result, you (and your partner) may not detect that hearing loss is the root cause of your communication problems. This can result in both partners feeling alienated and can make it hard to find workable solutions.

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 affected by hearing loss?

When hearing loss is in the early stages, it can be hard to identify. This can result in substantial misunderstandings between couples. The following common issues can develop as a result:

  • Feeling ignored: You would probably 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 occur. Feeling like your partner is not paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • Arguments: Arguments are rather common in pretty much all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more aggravating. For some couples, arguments will break out more often due to an increase in misunderstandings. 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).
  • Intimacy may suffer: In many relationships, communication is the foundation of intimacy. And when that communication becomes harder, all parties may feel more separated from each other. Increased tension and frustration are frequently the consequence.
  • 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”. Sometimes, selective hearing is absolutely unintended, and in others, it can be a conscious choice. One of the most frequent effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they may start 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”.

In many cases, this friction starts to happen before any formal diagnosis of hearing loss. If someone doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the root of the issue, or if they are ignoring their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be worse.

Living with a person 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 has hearing loss? For couples who are willing to develop new communication techniques, this usually isn’t a problem. Here are some of those strategies:

  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner control their hearing loss. Many areas of tension will fade away and communication will be more effective when hearing loss is well controlled. 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. Your partner can get help controlling any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Make use of 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. Hearing loss can affect some frequencies of speech more than others, which means certain words may be harder to understand (while others are easier). Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.
  • As much as you can, try to look directly into the face of the individual you’re talking with: 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 preserve concentration and eye contact. This provides your partner with more information to process, and that typically makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner is dealing with hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You might have to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for example. You may also have to speak more slowly. This kind of patience can be challenging, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Perhaps you could do things like taking over the grocery shopping or other chores that cause your partner anxiety. There also may be ways you can help your partner get used to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing examination is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. In most instances, those who undergo tests will do little more than wear specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a sound. 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 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.