Hearing Loss Doesn’t Have to Negatively Affect Your Relationship

Cropped shot of two unrecognizable people holding hands discussing hearing loss with compassion.

It’s something a lot of individuals cope with, but few want to talk about – hearing loss and its impact on personal relationships. Both partners can feel aggravated by the misunderstandings that are caused by hearing loss.
This is the ideal time for you to show your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. A wonderful way to do this is to have a discussion about your hearing loss.

Having “the talk”

A person experiencing neglected hearing loss has a 2.4 times more likely risk of experiencing cognitive disorders including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease according to some studies. A cascade effect that will eventually impact the whole brain will be initiated when the region of your brain in charge of hearing becomes less engaged. This is referred to as brain atrophy by doctors. You know how the old saying goes, “use it or lose it”.

Depression rates among people who have hearing loss are nearly twice that of an individual with healthy hearing. Individuals frequently become anxious and agitated as their hearing loss worsens according to research. This can result in the person being self secluded from family and friends. They are also likely to avoid involving themselves in the activities they used to enjoy as they fall deeper into a state of sadness.

This, in turn, can lead to relationship stress among mother and son, daughter and father, close friends, spouses, and others in this person’s life. It’s important to be patient and work together to determine solutions to communication challenges.

Mystery solved

Somebody who is developing hearing loss might not be ready to discuss it. They may be afraid or ashamed. Denial might have set in. You may need to do a bit of detective work to figure out when it’s time to have the talk.

Since you can’t hear what your partner or parent hears, you’ll need to rely on outward clues, such as:

  • Frequent misunderstandings
  • Avoiding busy places
  • Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
  • Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
  • Complaining about buzzing, humming, static, or other noises that you can’t hear
  • Cranking the volume way up on your TV
  • Avoiding conversations
  • Failing to hear alarms, doorbells, and other significant sounds

Watch for these prevalent symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart chat with your loved one.

What is the best way to talk about hearing loss?

Having this discussion may not be easy. A loved one could become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why it’s essential to discuss hearing loss in a sensitive and appropriate way. The steps will be basically the same but possibly with some slight modifications based on your particular relationship situation.

  • Step 1: Inform them how much you love them unconditionally and how much you appreciate your relationship.
  • Step 2: You’re worried about their health. You’ve seen the research. You’re aware that neglected hearing loss can result in an increased risk of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to experience that.
  • Step 3: Your own safety and health are also a concern. An overly loud television could damage your hearing. In addition, studies show that increased noise can cause anxiety, which may affect your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you have a fall or someone’s broken into the house. Emotion is a strong way to connect with others. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than merely listing facts.
  • Step 4: Make an appointment to have your hearing tested together. After you make the decision make an appointment as soon as possible. Don’t hold off.
  • Step 5: Be ready for opposition. You could encounter these oppositions at any time in the process. This is a person you know well. What sort of objections will they have? Will it be lack of time, or money? Maybe they don’t detect that it’s an issue. Do they think they can utilize homemade remedies? (You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could cause more harm than good.)

Have your responses prepared ahead of time. Even a little rehearsal can’t hurt. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should address your loved one’s worries.

Relationship growth

If your partner isn’t willing to discuss their hearing loss, it can be challenging. Establishing a plan to deal with potential communication problems and the impact hearing loss can have on your relationship will help both partners have confidence that their concerns will be heard and understood. In this way, your relationship will grow stronger and your partner will take steps to live a longer, healthier life. And relationships are, after all, about growing together.



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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    Dr. Laura Padham, Audiologist

    Ocean Gate, NJ

    143 W Barnegat Avenue
    Ocean Gate, NJ 08740

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