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 impacted by Hearing Loss. Your hobbies, your professional life, and even your love life can be affected by hearing loss, for example. For couples who are coping with hearing loss, communication can become strained. This can cause increased stress, more quarrels, and even the development of animosity. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively impact your relationship in substantial ways.

So, how does hearing loss impact relationships? In part, these tribulations happen because the individuals aren’t aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss typically is, after all, a gradually advancing condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) may not detect that hearing loss is the root cause of your communication issues. Practical solutions might be difficult to find as both partners feel increasingly 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 disregard hearing loss when it first presents. Couples can have considerable misunderstandings as a result of this. As a result, there are some common problems that develop:

  • Couples often confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs when someone hears “we’re having brownies for dessert” very distinctly, but somehow does not hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. In some instances, selective hearing is a conscious action, in other cases, it’s quite unintentional. Spouses will often start to miss certain words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound jumbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can frequently be mistaken for “selective hearing,” resulting in resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Feeling ignored: You would most likely feel like you’re being ignored if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is unaware of it, this can often take place. Feeling as if your partner is not paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • Arguments: Arguments are rather common in almost all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more aggravating. 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, increasing the volume on the television to painful levels).
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the foundation of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties might feel more distant from one another. As a result, hearing loss might introduce friction throughout the relationship, leading to more frustration and tension.

In many cases, this friction begins to occur before any actual diagnosis of hearing loss. Feelings of bitterness may be worse when parties don’t know hearing loss is the core problem (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 has hearing loss when hearing loss can cause so much conflict? For couples who are willing to develop new communication techniques, this usually isn’t an issue. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of different words: When your partner doesn’t understand what you said, you will typically try repeating yourself. But try changing the words you use instead of using the same words. Certain words may be harder to hear than others depending on what frequencies your hearing loss effects most. Your message can be strengthened by changing the words you use.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner control their hearing loss. Many areas of stress will fade away and communication will be more successful when hearing loss is well controlled. In addition, treating hearing loss is a safety concern: hearing loss can effect 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.
  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner is dealing with hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You may have to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for example. It may also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be significantly improved by exercising this type of patience.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Maybe you could do things like taking over the grocery shopping or other chores that cause your partner stress. You can also ask your partner’s hearing specialist if there are ways you can help them get accustomed to their hearing aids.
  • As much as you can, try to look directly into the face of the person you’re speaking with: Communicating face-to-face can furnish a wealth of visual clues for somebody with hearing loss. You will be supplying your partner with body language and facial cues. It’s also easier to preserve concentration and eye contact. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a simpler time understanding what you mean.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

A hearing test is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. Typically, you will simply put on a pair of headphones and listen for specific tones. You will be better able to regulate 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.