Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Tips for Stronger Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many facets of your day-to-day life can be affected by Hearing Loss. Your pastimes, your professional life, and even your love life can be affected by hearing loss, for example. Communication can become strained for couples who are dealing with hearing loss. This can cause increased stress, more quarrels, and even the development of animosity. If ignored, 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 hardships arise because the individuals aren’t aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss typically is, after all, a slowly advancing condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) may not notice that hearing loss is the root cause of your communication issues. This can result in both partners feeling alienated and can make it hard to find workable solutions.

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

Can relationships be impacted by hearing loss?

It’s very easy to ignore hearing loss when it first presents. Couples can have substantial misunderstandings because of this. The following common problems can develop as a result:

  • Arguments: Arguments are rather common in almost all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more aggravating. 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).
  • Feeling ignored: You would probably feel like you’re being disregarded if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. This can frequently happen when one partner is experiencing hearing loss and isn’t aware of it. The long-term health of your relationship can be significantly put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being disregarded.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the basis of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties might feel more distant from each other. Consequently, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, ultimately causing more frustration and tension.
  • Couples often confuse hearing loss for “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”. In some cases, selective hearing is totally unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. Spouses will often start to miss certain 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,” causing resentment and tension in the relationship.

In many cases, this friction begins 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 dismissing their symptoms, feelings of resentment could get worse.

Tips for living with someone who is dealing with hearing loss

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 an issue for couples who aren’t willing to formulate new communication strategies. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner manage their hearing loss. When hearing loss is under control, communication is typically more successful (and many other areas of stress may recede as well). Additionally, managing hearing loss is a safety issue: hearing loss can effect your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. It might also be hard to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help managing any of these potential issues by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Patience: This is particularly relevant when you know that your partner is struggling with hearing loss. You might have to repeat yourself more often or raise the volume of your voice. You may also have to speak more slowly. The effectiveness of your communication can be substantially improved by practicing this type of patience.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can consist of things like taking over chores that cause substantial stress (like going shopping or making phone calls). There also may be ways you can help your partner get used to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.
  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of different words: Normally, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner fails to hear you. But instead of using the same words over and over again, try to change things up. Hearing loss can impact some frequencies of speech more than others, which means certain words might be more difficult to understand (while others are easier). Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.
  • 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. Your partner will be able to read facial cues and body language. It’s also easier to maintain concentration and eye contact. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have an easier time understanding what you mean.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

Hearing tests are typically non-invasive and really simple. Usually, you will simply put on a pair 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 examination.

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.