Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Strategies for Better Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many facets of your daily life can be impacted by Hearing Loss. Untreated hearing loss, for instance, can impact your professional life, your favorite pastimes, and even your relationships. Communication can become strained for couples who are dealing with hearing loss. This can cause increased tension, more disputes, and even the development of animosity. In other words, left uncontrolled, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in substantial ways.

So, how does hearing loss impact relationships? In part, these hardships arise because the individuals aren’t aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss typically is, after all, a slowly developing 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 practical solutions.

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

Can hearing loss affect relationships?

When hearing loss is in the early phases, it’s difficult to detect. This can lead to substantial misunderstandings between couples. The following common issues can develop as a result:

  • Feeling ignored: When somebody doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel dismissed. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can often take place. The long-term health of your relationship can be seriously put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being disregarded.
  • Intimacy may suffer: In many relationships, communication is the foundation of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. Increased tension and frustration are frequently the result.
  • It’s not uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when someone easily hears something like “let’s go get some ice cream”, but somehow misses something like “let’s do some spring cleaning”. Sometimes, selective hearing is totally unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. Spouses will often start to miss particular words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound garbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can frequently be mistaken for “selective hearing,” resulting in resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Arguments: It’s not abnormal for arguments to take place in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more frustrating. For some couples, arguments will erupt more frequently because of an increase in misunderstandings. For others, an increase in arguments could be a consequence of changes in behavior (for instance, boosting the volume on the television to painful levels).

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

Living with a person who is dealing with loss of hearing

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

  • Patience: This is especially relevant when you know that your partner is dealing with hearing loss. You may have to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for instance. It may also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be substantially improved by practicing this kind of patience.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can consist of things like taking over chores that cause significant stress (such as 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 utilizing 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. Some words may be harder to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss impact most. Your message can be strengthened by changing the words you use.
  • As much as you can, try to look right into the face of the individual you’re speaking with: For someone who is dealing with 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. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to maintain concentration. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have an easier time understanding what you mean.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be controlled with our help. Many areas of stress will fade away and communication will be more successful 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. It might also be hard to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get assistance controlling any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

Hearing tests are typically non-invasive and quite simple. In most cases, people who are tested will do little more than put on specialized headphones and raise their hand when they hear a tone. You will be better able to manage your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

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

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.