Love and Hearing Loss: Communication Tips for Couples

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many areas of your daily life. Your pastimes, your professional life, and even your love life can be affected by hearing loss, for example. Communication can become tense for couples who are coping with hearing loss. Animosity can develop from the increased stress and more frequent quarrels. If ignored, in other words, hearing loss can have a significantly negative impact on your relationship.

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? These challenges happen, in part, because individuals are usually not aware that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is usually a slow-moving and difficult to recognize condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) may not recognize that hearing loss is the base cause of your communication problems. Workable solutions might be difficult to find as both partners feel increasingly alienated.

Relationships can be improved and communication can start to be repaired when hearing loss is diagnosed and couples get effective solutions from us.

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

When hearing loss is in the early phases, it’s difficult to detect. This can lead to substantial misunderstandings between couples. As a result, there are a few common issues that develop:

  • Feeling ignored: You would likely 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 unaware of it, this can frequently happen. Feeling as if your partner isn’t paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • 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 action, in other instances, it’s quite unintended. One of the most frequent effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they might start to miss words or certain phrases will seem garbled. This can often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” resulting in resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Arguments: It isn’t uncommon for arguments to happen in a relationship, at least, sometimes. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more frustrating. Arguments can become more frequent too. For others, an increase in arguments could be a consequence of changes in behavior (for instance, increasing the volume on the television to painful levels).
  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the foundation of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. As a result, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, ultimately causing more frustration and tension.

Often, this friction begins to occur before any actual diagnosis of hearing loss. If somebody doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the root of the problem, or if they are dismissing their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be worse.

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

If hearing loss can create so much conflict in a relationship, how can you live with someone who is dealing with hearing loss? This will only be a problem for couples who aren’t willing to establish new communication strategies. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Try to communicate face-to-face as frequently as possible: For somebody who has hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give an abundance of visual cues. You will be supplying your partner with body language and facial cues. It’s also easier to maintain concentration and eye contact. This supplies your partner with more information to process, and that usually makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • 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. You can also ask your partner’s hearing specialist if there are ways you can help them get used to their hearing aids.
  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of different words: Normally, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But rather than using the same words over and over again, try to change things up. Some words might be more difficult to hear than others depending on what frequencies your hearing loss impact most. Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.
  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner has hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You might have to repeat yourself more often or raise the volume of your voice. You may also have to speak more slowly. This type of patience can be challenging, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner regulate their hearing loss. When hearing loss is under control, communication is usually more successful (and many other areas of tension may go away also). Additionally, managing 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. We can help your partner better regulate any of these potential problems.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

Hearing assessments are typically non-invasive and quite simple. Typically, you will simply put on a pair of headphones and listen for particular tones. You will be better able to manage your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

Encouraging your partner to get in touch with us can help ensure 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.

Questions? Talk To Us.

    Dr. Laura Padham, Audiologist

    Ocean Gate, NJ

    143 W Barnegat Avenue
    Ocean Gate, NJ 08740

    Mobile Services in:Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex, Somerset, Union, Essex, Hudson, Bergen, Passaic, Atlantic, Mercer, and Burlington Counties.

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