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Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many aspects of your daily life. Untreated hearing loss, for example, can impact your professional life, your favorite pastimes, and even your relationships. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become strained. This can cause increased tension, more disputes, and even the growth of animosity. If neglected, in other words, hearing loss can have a significantly negative effect on your relationship.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? In part, these tribulations occur because the parties aren’t aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss typically is, after all, a gradually advancing condition. Communication may be tense because of hearing loss and you and your partner might not even be aware it’s the root of the problem. Practical solutions may be difficult to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

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

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

It’s very easy to ignore hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. This can result in significant misunderstandings between couples. Consequently, there are a few common problems that develop:

  • It’s not unusual for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when somebody hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very distinctly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. In some cases, selective hearing is absolutely unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. One of the most common effects of hearing loss on a partner is that they might start to miss words or certain phrases will seem garbled. This can sometimes result in tension and resentment because one spouse mistakes this for “selective hearing”.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the basis of intimacy. And when that communication becomes harder, all parties may feel more distant from one another. As a result, hearing loss might introduce friction throughout the relationship, ultimately causing more frustration and tension.
  • Feeling ignored: When someone doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel ignored. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can often happen. Feeling like your partner isn’t paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • Arguments: Arguments are fairly common in almost all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more aggravating. Arguments can become more frequent too. For others, an increase in arguments could be a consequence of changes in behavior (for example, increasing the volume on the television to painful volumes).

Often, this friction starts to happen before any formal diagnosis of hearing loss. If somebody 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 somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

How do you live with a person who is dealing with hearing loss when hearing loss can result in so much conflict? For couples who are willing to establish new communication techniques, this usually is not an issue. Here are some of those strategies:

  • Try to talk face-to-face as frequently as possible: For somebody who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give lots of visual cues. You will be providing 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 a simpler time understanding what you mean.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Maybe you could do things like taking over the grocery shopping or other tasks 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.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be controlled with our help. When hearing loss is well-managed, communication is typically more successful (and many other areas of stress may go away too). 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. Your partner can get assistance managing any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of different words: Typically, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But try switching the words you use instead of using the same words. Hearing loss can affect some frequencies of speech more than others, which means some words might be more difficult to understand (while others are easier). Your message can be strengthened by changing the words you utilize.
  • Patience: This is particularly true when you know that your partner is dealing with hearing loss. You may need to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for instance. You might also have to speak more slowly. This type of patience can be a challenge, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

A hearing test is a fairly 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 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 undermine your happiness or your partnership.

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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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