Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect 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. 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 uncontrolled, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in significant ways.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? These challenges happen, in part, because individuals are often oblivious that they even have hearing loss. Hearing loss usually is, after all, a gradually developing condition. Communication may be strained because of hearing loss and you and your partner may not even be aware it’s the root of the issue. Workable solutions might be difficult to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

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

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

It’s really easy to overlook hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. Couples can have significant misunderstandings as a result of this. As a result, there are a few common problems that develop:

  • Arguments: Arguments are pretty common in almost all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more aggravating. Arguments can happen more often 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).
  • Feeling ignored: You would most likely feel like you’re being dismissed if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. This can often happen when one partner is suffering from hearing loss and doesn’t know it. The long-term health of your relationship can be significantly put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being ignored.
  • It’s not uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when somebody effortlessly hears something like “let’s go get some ice cream”, but somehow misses something like “let’s do some spring cleaning”. In some instances, selective hearing is a conscious behavior, in other instances, it’s quite unintentional. One of the most frequent effects of hearing loss on a partner is that they might start to miss words or certain phrases will seem garbled. This can sometimes lead to tension and resentment because one spouse confuses this for “selective hearing”.
  • Intimacy may suffer: In many relationships, communication is the foundation of intimacy. And when that communication becomes harder, all parties may feel more distant from one another. Consequently, hearing loss might introduce friction throughout the relationship, causing more frustration and tension.

These issues will often start before anyone is diagnosed with hearing loss. Feelings of bitterness might be worse when parties don’t know hearing loss is the root issue (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on ignoring their symptoms).

Living with a person 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? For couples who are willing to establish new communication techniques, this usually is not an issue. Here are some of those strategies:

  • 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 instead of using the same words over and over again, try changing things up. 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 strengthen your message.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be managed with our help. Many areas of stress will fade away and communication will be more successful when hearing loss is well managed. Safety is also a concern with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. 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.
  • Patience: This is especially true when you know that your partner is dealing with hearing loss. You might have to repeat yourself more frequently or raise the volume of your voice. You may also have to speak more slowly. The effectiveness of your communication can be dramatically improved by practicing this kind of patience.
  • Try to talk face-to-face as often as possible: For somebody who has hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give lots of visual cues. You will be providing your partner with body language and facial cues. 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.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can consist of things like taking over tasks that cause significant stress (such as going to the grocery store or making phone calls). There also might be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

A hearing examination is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. Typically, you will simply put on a set of headphones and listen for specific tones. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be an essential step to more effectively managing symptoms and relationships.

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

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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.